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Fair Housing Still a Concept More Than a Reality

Half a century after the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Trulia has released a sobering report showing that racial and ethnic minorities still face fewer opportunities and greater burdens in housing than others.

According to Trulia, blacks and Latinos own homes at a lower rate than whites and Asians, spend more of their income on rent, and continue to contend with residential segregation. Nationally, in fact, the homeownership gap between all households and black and Latino households has changed little since 1970. 

There were gains in homeownership between 1990 and 2015 for black households in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The largest increases occurred in Washington, D.C., Peabody, Mass. and Fairfield County, Conn. And Latino households saw double-digit increases in homeownership in Chicago, Hartford, and Houston, the report found.

But, the share of households that are rent burdened—those that spend at least 30 percent of their income on rent—increased after the housing crisis, affecting black and Latino households most. According to Trulia, more than 55 percent of black and Latino households are rent burdened compared to 47 percent of all households.

“The housing crisis erased any gains in homeownership, with black homeownership facing the steepest decline from 2000 to 2010,” the report stated. ““Since 1980, the gap between non-Latino white homeownership rates and black homeownership rates has widened from 24.1 percent to 30.63 percent, but the gap between non-Latino white households and Latino households has remained the same.”

Homeownership rates among black households suffered the most in Rust Belt metros in Michigan and Ohio, and in markets hit hardest by the housing crisis, such as Bakersfield and Fresno.

Residential black-white segregation did decreased in 94 of the largest 100 metros from 1980 to 2015, Trulia reported. The biggest drop in segregation happened in Florida, chiefly Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, and Cape Coral. Texas saw the biggest decrease in white-Latino segregation, mainly in El Paso and San Antonio.

While the overall picture of housing equality has shown some bright spots over the past 49 years, Trulia’s conclusion is that there is considerably more work to still be done.

“Identifying where progress has been made and where Americans continue to face impediments to securing safe and affordable housing is the first step to furthering housing opportunities for communities and ensuring they remain economically resilient,” the report concluded.

About Author: Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor based out of Texas. During his 11 years as a newspaper journalist, he wrote more than 4,000 published pieces. He's been recognized for his work since 2001, and his creative writing continues to win acclaim from readers and fellow writers alike. He is also a creative writing teacher and the author of several books, from short fiction to written works about writing.

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