A new report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on June 11, 2013, finds that while blatant acts of housing discrimination have declined in the U.S., “more subtle forms of housing denial stubbornly persist” in both the rental and sales markets. The study, titled “Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012,” was conducted by the Urban Institute and is based on over 8,000 controlled fair housing tests conducted in 28 metropolitan areas across the country in 2011 and 2012. It examined the treatment of African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans, and whites who approached housing providers offering both rentals and homes for sale.
According to a HUD press release, the report shows that
[r]eal estate agents and rental housing providers recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minority families, thereby increasing their costs and restricting their housing options. The study concludes this is a national, not a regional, phenomenon.
Specifically, the report found that African Americans who contact rental agents are told about 11% fewer units and shown 4% fewer units than white renters. Latinos/Hispanics learn about 12% fewer units and are shown 7% fewer units than white, while Asian Americans are told about 10% fewer units and shown 7% fewer units.
Discrimination was more evident in the sales market, where African Americans who contacted real estate agents about recently advertised homes were informed about 17% fewer available homes and shown 18% ewer units than white homebuyers. Asian Americans were informed about 15% fewer homes and shown 19% fewer units than whites. There was no statistically significant difference between Latino/Hispanic homebuyers and whites.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan noted, “Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic and educational opportunities.”
The report is the fourth in a series of decennial studies of housing discrimination in the rental and sales markets. The study used matched pair testing, in which two testers of different races or ethnicities were sent to a randomly selected housing provider. The two testesr in each pair were matched in gender, age, and family composition and assigned the same financial characteristics. Each tester independently recorded their treatment, which was then analyzed by researchers to determine if there were any differences based on race or ethnicity.
The federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the rental or sale of a dwelling based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex/gender, disability, or familial status. North Carolina law also prohibits such discrimination under the State Fair Housing Act.
To read the HUD press release about the report, click here.
To read the full report, click here.