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Stock surge helps white Americans; other groups's wealth declines

The net worth of White Americans hit a

The net worth of White Americans hit a record high, driven by a stock-market rebound that defied the pandemic. Credit: TNS/Dreamstime/TNS

The net worth of white Americans hit a record high last year, driven by a stock-market rebound that defied the pandemic, while other ethnic groups saw their share of the nation’s wealth decline, according to recently released data from the Federal Reserve.

Wealth held by white households rose to $98.6 trillion in the third quarter of 2020. That amounts to 84.6% of the total, the biggest share in three years.

By contrast, the portion of overall wealth held by Black Americans fell to 3.8% — down from 4.4% two years earlier — while for Hispanic Americans it dropped to 2.1%.

The shift was largely driven by stock markets. White households own almost 90% of corporate equities and mutual funds, which posted a $2 trillion jump in value during the third quarter.

Meanwhile, assets held by other groups proved more vulnerable to the coronavirus slump. Wealth held by Hispanic households in the form of business ownership, for example, slumped by almost one-quarter from a year earlier to $188 billion, the lowest since 2013.

Non-Hispanic white people account for about 60% of the U.S. population. That figure has been declining in the longer term, one reason why the White share of national wealth has dropped from 92% in 2000. White Americans are also older on average than other groups, meaning they’ve had more time to accumulate wealth.

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