Language, Agglomeration and Hispanic Homeownership

29 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2009

See all articles by Donald R. Haurin

Donald R. Haurin

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics

Stuart S. Rosenthal

affiliation not provided to SSRN


As of the fourth quarter of 2007, 74.9% of white non-Hispanic families but only 48.5% of Hispanic families owned homes. We argue that low rates of homeownership in Hispanic communities create a self-reinforcing mechanism that contributes to this large disparity. In part, this occurs because proximity to other homeowners belonging to a family's social network improves access to information about how to become a homeowner. Role model effects may also be relevant. We investigate these issues using household-level data on out-of-state movers from the 2000 Decennial Census. Three especially important results are obtained. First, proximity to Hispanic homeowners in the 1995 place of residence increases the propensity of a Hispanic family to own a home in 2000. Second, that effect is especially strong with respect to proximity to weak English-speaking Hispanic homeowners. Third, these patterns hold regardless of the Hispanic family's own ability to speak English. From a policy perspective, these results suggest that local programs designed to promote homeownership among weak English-speaking Hispanic families likely increase Hispanic homeownership beyond just the immediate program participants.

Suggested Citation

Haurin, Donald R. and Rosenthal, Stuart S., Language, Agglomeration and Hispanic Homeownership. Real Estate Economics, Vol. 37, Issue 2, pp. 155-183, Summer 2009. Available at SSRN: or

Donald R. Haurin (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics ( email )

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Stuart S. Rosenthal

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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