How Race and Class Stereotyping Shapes Attitudes Toward Affordable Housing

23 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2012 Last revised: 15 Nov 2012

Date Written: October 8, 2012


The development of affordable housing often involves a contentious siting process. Proposed housing developments frequently trigger concern among neighbors and community groups about potential negative impacts on neighborhood quality of life and property values. Advocates, developers, and researchers have long suspected that these concerns stem in part from racial or class prejudice. Yet, to date, empirical evidence supporting these assumptions is lacking. This study seeks to examine roles that perceptions of race and class play in shaping opinions that underlie public opposition to affordable housing. This study applies a public opinion survey to determine the extent to which stereotypes and perceptions of the poor and minorities relate to attitudes toward affordable housing. The results demonstrate that such perceptions are particularly strong determinants of negative attitudes about affordable housing. These findings provide advocates, planners, developers, and researchers with a more accurate portrayal of affordable housing opposition, thereby allowing the response to be shaped in a more appropriate manner.

Keywords: race, NIMBY, affordable housing

Suggested Citation

Tighe, J. Rosie, How Race and Class Stereotyping Shapes Attitudes Toward Affordable Housing (October 8, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

J. Rosie Tighe (Contact Author)

Cleveland State University ( email )

1717 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
United States

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