I’m not sure what to make of this report. Does it tell us anything we didn’t already know, or at least suspect? Blacks and Hispanics have had about the last half-century to accumulate wealth in the US; whites, anywhere from about one to three centuries. It stands to reason that whites would be fantastically more wealthy, on average, than are blacks and Hispanics. Still, the disparities are somewhat startling:
It is also not remarkable that blacks and Hispanics lost more “wealth” in the years from 2005 to 2009 than did whites (as a ratio). Wealth for the average person is mostly home equity, and low-income housing suffered the most in the recent housing bust. Also, Hispanics were heavily congregated in states that saw some of the biggest declines in housing values–California, Arizona and Florida.
Studies like this capture moments in time, but as the Uncertainty Principle tells us (as relevant in socio-economics as it is in particle physics) there is no way to measure position and momentum at the same time, in the same frame.
The momentum story is how rapidly Hispanics have managed to accumulate wealth, and how quickly their population has grown. While whites, on average, have nearly twenty times the accumulated wealth of Hispanics, their population is aging and has almost ceased growing (blacks have a similar demographic). If present trends continue, there will come a day in the not-too-distant future when Lord Nelson’s defeat of the Spanish Armada for the glory of Britain in 1588 will be avenged in the America’s, as the progeny of Spanish colonialism overwhelms the fruit of the British Empire.
The self-righteous, manifestly-destined nonsense of British cum American imperialism and its stiff-lipped, stoic Protestant culture will be replaced by the passionate Catholic culture of manana.
I hope I live long enough to see it.