Hoosiers 'not surprised' at growing wealth gap between rich and poor

INDIANAPOLIS - New numbers released by the Census Bureau this week report facts the average Hoosier already knows: while the economy may be recovering, median household wealth hasn't.

Over the last decade, the median household wealth across the U.S. has dropped by 7 percent. That decrease has been driven by losses for Americans in the bottom three wealth brackets. Americans in the wealthiest two brackets actually gained points – 11 percent for the nation's richest.

In Indianapolis, few were shocked by the news.

"I believe that the richer are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer," said Indy resident Anthony Morris. "Especially the middle class are really suffering the most I believe."

Indianapolis resident Peter Francis said he wasn't surprised at all.

"The rich do get richer," Francis said. "They have wealth. It's easier to make money. And the people that are poor, it's harder to get out of the hole. They're stuck in this economy."

University of Indianapolis Professor of economics Dr. Matt Will agreed with Francis' assessment.

"Obviously when there's a drop in wealth, the poorest are going to be hurt the worst because they're losing their job," Will said. "Home values drop. Most of their assists are tied up in a home. Wealthy individuals, a lot of their assets are tied up in stocks and bonds. Well the stock market has recovered, the housing market has not. And wealthy individuals didn't lose their job. So it's really a recession byproduct."

One unexpected group that has seen gains since 2008 is black and Hispanic Americans, the top one-fifth of which saw the largest increase in wealth of all groups.

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