The Large and 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 2017, 72.3 percent of non-Hispanic White Americans owned their home. For African Americans, only 42.3 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 declined. Home ownership rates for non-Hispanic Whites have also declined slightly but the racial gap has expanded. The Black home ownership rate in 2017 was identical to the rate in 1994.

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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  1. Oh, so what, most blacks just go to college and rack up a lot of student loans they can’t pay back partly because they never graduate any way. Not being able to afford college isn’t newsworthy when being black with a college degree doesn’t net you a secure job any more.

    • A college degree doesn’t always net a secure job, but, it does net someone a better education to use the rest of their life. In the long term this may be better than not having more education in the “short” term. We must keep striving to survive. It is NOT just about a “job”.

  2. There’s probably an urbanization effect here too. Minorities tend to be concentrated in cities for work and homeownership isn’t really feasible in big cities due to the high cost of living and rent.

    Just an observation

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