The Racial Wealth Gap and The Legacy of Racially Restrictive Housing Covenants

29 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2023

See all articles by Larry Santucci

Larry Santucci

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Date Written: September 2023


One of the ways in which Black Americans were prevented from accumulating housing wealth during the 20th century was through the use of racially restrictive covenants. Recent research provides evidence that the current wealth distribution is influenced in part by historical inequalities in opportunities to create wealth. In Philadelphia and other US cities, racial covenants made it difficult for Black Americans to acquire homes, and affected both prices paid and returns to home ownership. Future research will assemble the data necessary to understand the long-run consequences of these barriers on the acquisition and intergenerational transmission of wealth in Philadelphia.

Keywords: Wealth inequality, racial discrimination, housing covenant, barriers to home ownership, intergenerational wealth transfers

JEL Classification: D31, D64, J15, R31

Suggested Citation

Santucci, Larry, The Racial Wealth Gap and The Legacy of Racially Restrictive Housing Covenants (September 2023). Wharton Pension Research Council Working Paper No. 2023-17, Available at SSRN: or

Larry Santucci (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia ( email )

Ten Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1574
United States
2155746014 (Phone)

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