Chart: The Recession by Race

Minority groups lost a bigger chunk of their income than whites did

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It was a well-publicized fact of the recession that black and Hispanic populations suffered disproportionally high rates of unemployment compared to white people. The chart above, courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute, details the effects of the recession on family income, with similar results. Income for black, Hispanic, and Asian households declined by a larger percentage from 2007-2009 than it did for white ones. Black households, with a 7.1 percent drop in income, lost almost double the percentage decrease of white households.

The EPI notes that this is partly a function of employment: "Because racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately hit by job loss in recessions, their incomes drop further than that of whites." It's also been noted that blacks were particularly affected by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Or as Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad write in the New York Times: "Thanks to a legacy of a discrimination in both hiring and lending, they're less likely than whites to be cushioned against the blows by wealthy relatives or well-stocked savings accounts." Others have posited that firing practices might unfairly target black workers.

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