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Great Recession foreclosures hit African Americans worst

The country is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, but the effects are still being felt in many communities. African American communities, specifically, have been hit particularly hard, and evidence can be seen in foreclosure rates. African Americans are almost twice as likely as Caucasians to have lost their homes, and as many as a quarter of those who bought their home just before the recession hit could end up losing it to foreclosure.

In recent years, African Americans have been losing their homes at a faster pace than Caucasians. In 2004, the gap between the percentage of African Americans who own their home and Caucasians who own their home was at an all-time low of 23.7 percent. As of last year, it hit 25.6 percent, as the percentage of blacks who own their home hovered around 45.

In the D.C. area, Prince George's County has a reputation for being the wealthiest county in the nation in which the majority of residents are African American. People move to Prince George's County from all over the country with hopes of upward mobility. In 2008, it was in the top 10 percent of wealthy counties in the U.S.

Even in such an affluent neighborhood, the effects of the recession can be seen. In Maryland, about 38 percent of all homes in the process of foreclosure were located in Prince George's County.

A factor in the high number of foreclosures is that Prince George's County was hit hard by subprime lenders. The county even has its own mortgage fraud office.

As this information shows, foreclosure has greatly affected many people in Maryland. If faced with foreclosure, some homeowners decide that filing for bankruptcy is their best option. Not only can bankruptcy offer a clean financial slate, it can also halt a foreclosure.

Source: NPR, "Racial Gap In Homeownership Widens in U.S. Slump," Alex Kellogg, Aug. 24, 2011

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