The Growing Racial Gap in Home Ownership

There continues to be a large racial gap in home ownership rates in the United States. According to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, 72.1 percent of non-Hispanic White Americans owned their home. For African Americans, only 41.5 percent owned their home. Thus, there is a huge 30 percentage point gap in home ownership rates.

Furthermore, the gap in home ownership rates has been expanding in recent years. Black home ownership peaked in 2004 at 49.1 percent. But since that time, undoubtedly due to the 2008 recession and slow economic recovery, African American home ownership rates have steadily declined. Home ownership rates for non-Hispanic Whites have also declined slightly but the racial gap has expanded.

According to a report from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, if Blacks owned their home at the same rate as non-Hispanic Whites, there would be an additional 5 million African American homeowners. If the average price of these homes was $250,000, there would be an additional $1.25 trillion in Black wealth.

Why are these statistics relevant to higher education? The simple fact is that many American families use the equity in their home to finance the higher education of their children or grandchildren. Since this source of wealth is less available to Black families, this places African Americans at a disadvantage in financing higher education.

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