Race and Home Ownership, 1900 to 1990
40 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2000 Last revised: 6 May 2000
Date Written: August 1999
The historical evolution of racial differences in income in the 20th century United States has been examined intensively by economists, but the evolution of racial differences in wealth has been examined far less. This paper uses IPUMS data to study trends in racial differences in home ownership since 1900. At the turn of the century approximately 20 percent of black adult males (ages 20 to 64) owned their homes, compared with 46 percent of white men, a gap of 26 percentage points. By 1990, the black home ownership rate had increased to 52 percent and the racial gap had fallen to 19.5 percentage points. All of the long-term rise in the rate of black home ownership, and almost all of the corresponding long-term decline in the racial gap, occurred after 1940, with the majority of both changes concentrated in the 1960 to 1980 period. We also use the IPUMS to study trends in race differences in the incidence of mortgages, and in the value of owner-occupied housing.
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