The Growing Racial Gap in Home Ownership Rates and its Impact on Higher Education

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 the second quarter of 2018, 72.9 percent of non-Hispanic White Americans owned their home. For African Americans, only 41.6 percent owned their home. Thus, there is a huge 31 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 the second quarter of 2004 at 49.7 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 during the period but the racial gap has expanded. The Black home ownership rate in the second quarter of 2018 was less than the rate in the second quarter of 1994, nearly a quarter century ago.

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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