Minorities Own Few Assets

February 22, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — As the economy emerges from the recession and the national debate turns to limiting the cost of the social safety net, only one in four African Americans and one in six Hispanics reported owning stocks, bonds or mutual funds, a new poll shows.In addition, only 46 percent of blacks and 32 percent of Hispanics said they had an IRA or any other type of individual retirement account, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll. Half of whites said they had stocks, bonds or mutual funds and two in three said they had IRAs, 401(k)s or similar securities.

The relative paucity of investments held by blacks and Hispanics tracks with previous studies, something that experts call an outgrowth of the gaping wealth disparities separating the races.  Not only are African Americans and Hispanics less likely than whites to own retirement accounts or investment securities, they also are far less likely to own homes, which remains the largest engine of wealth creation for most Americans.

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