Map Monday: US Black Homeownership Inequality

Here’s a maddening and entirely believable map from a think tank called the Urban Institute out of DC. It shows the size and scale of the gap in homeownership rates between African-Americans and whites in the US.

As described by the report’s authors, “the dots’ color represents the magnitude of the disparity, and the dots’ size is scaled to the number of black households in the metropolitan statistical area.”

Here’s the bad news:

The Minneapolis metro ranks as the worst metro area in the country for the size of the gap. The authors describe the situation in the midwest and northeast thus:

Northeastern and midwestern cities have the widest homeownership gaps between black and white residents. Four of the five metropolitan areas with the largest number of black households—Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC—are in this region. The two cities with the biggest gaps—Minneapolis, Minnesota, at 50 percent and Albany, New York, at 49 percent—are also in this region.

Even worse, the Twin Cities is moving backwards here. The report shows in this pull out chart.

There. I hope this ruined your day, as it should. Let’s figure out how to heal this longstanding wound.


9 thoughts on “Map Monday: US Black Homeownership Inequality

  1. Tom Quinn

    So what is the effect of the high number of Somali immigration to Minneapolis? I think those numbers would have to be taken out before any conclusions of trends or relative ranking can be made.

    1. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke Post author

      I don’t know. I am pretty sure there are new immigrants in lots of cities. Plus this is metro-area not just the city of Minneapolis.

      1. Tom Quinn

        It’s hard to get definitive numbers, but I did some quick calculations based on some Google numbers. Assume the black population in the Twin Cities is 225,000 and the Somali population is 40,000, and that home ownership of Somali’s is essentially zero. The effect this has on the percent ownership is that the current 25% number changes to 30%. This is enough to eliminate the downward trend and move the MSP ranking from 1st to 4th.

        Obviously, these numbers aren’t good regardless.

        Your data also show a couple of other interesting things. White ownership has been declining for twenty years and I find it most curious that black ownership is so much more volatile over this same period. I can understand quick decline during an economic downturn if the population is vulnerable, but why would this same population climb back so fast during economic upturns?

        1. Rosa

          could rental discrimination push black people into the housing market faster, with a stronger effect than mortgage lending discrimination?

        2. Cobo R

          You also need to add in other African immigrant populations as well. MSP metro has the largest Liberian population and one of the larger Ethiopian populations, and I’ve also met a large number of people from Ghana.

            1. Nick Minderman

              Yes, this. Altering the statistics just hides the problem. I don’t care if we’re first or last, the fact that structural inequality exists should be enough of a motivation for change.

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