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Black Americans Own a Disproportionately Small Number of Homes in Each of the Nation’s 50 Largest Metros

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Racial income inequality is a major issue in the United States and, as a result, Americans of different races often face varying economic outcomes based on the color of their skin. This is especially true for Black Americans, who are among the most economically disadvantaged groups in the U.S.

One specific challenge that Black Americans frequently face is achieving homeownership. Even in areas with large Black populations, Black Americans tend to own a small number of homes relative to their overall population, according to key findings in a study by LendingTree.

To illustrate these findings, LendingTree ranked the nation’s 50 largest metros by the difference in the percentage of owner-occupied homes owned by Black homeowners and the overall population of Black residents in each metro.

Key findings

  • Black Americans own a disproportionately small percentage of homes in all of the nation’s 50 largest metros. Black Americans make up an average of more than 15% of residents in the metros featured in LendingTree’s study, but they own just 10% of owner-occupied homes.
  • Although there are some exceptions, Black residents tend to own the fewest number of homes relative to their overall population in metros with larger overall Black populations. 
  • Black homeowners own the largest percentage of homes relative to their total population in Portland, Ore., but they still own a disproportionately small number of homes. In Portland, residents who identify as Black own only 1.8% of the owner-occupied homes in the area, but they make up 2.84% of the city’s population, resulting in a disparity of 1.04%. 
  • Memphis, Tenn. is where Black Americans own the smallest percentage of homes relative to their overall population. In Memphis, Black residents comprise 47.07% of the total population and are the largest racial group in the area, according to Census Bureau data. However, they own only 35.11% of occupied housing units in the area, resulting in a disparity of nearly 12%. 

Metros where Black Americans own the largest share of homes relative to their overall population

No. 1: Portland, Ore.

  • % of the population (Black): 2.84%
  • Median household income (Black): $42,986
  • % of owner-occupied homes (Black): 1.8%
  • Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: –1.04%

No. 2: San Jose, Calif. 

  • % of the population (Black): 2.44%
  • Median household income (Black): $76,433
  • % of owner-occupied homes (Black): 1.3%
  • Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: –1.14%

No. 3: Salt Lake City 

  • % of the population (Black): 1.83%
  • Median household income (Black): $39,923
  • % of owner-occupied homes (Black): 0.68%
  • Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: –1.15%

Metros where Black Americans own the smallest share of homes relative to their overall population

No. 1: Memphis, Tenn.

  • % of the population (Black): 47.02%
  • Median household income (Black): $38,591
  • % of owner-occupied homes (Black): 35.11%
  • Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: –11.96%

No. 2: New Orleans

  • % of the population (Black): 35.14%
  • Median household income (Black): $32,707
  • % of owner-occupied homes (Black): 25.45%
  • Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: –9.69%

No. 3: Milwaukee

  • % of the population (Black): 16.54%
  • Median household income (Black):$31,257
  • % of owner-occupied homes (Black): 6.87%
  • Difference between % of owner-occupied homes and % of population: –9.67%


What’s driving this trend?

As LendingTree’s study shows, in each of the nation’s largest metros, Black Americans own a disproportionately smaller number of homes relative to their overall population.

Here are some examples of why this is the case:

On the whole, Black Americans tend to earn lower incomes, and generally have less household wealth than Americans from other racial groups, according to government data. Beyond that, they also have greater difficulty accessing credit even when their incomes are the same as applicants of different races, and are more likely to be denied a mortgage. Furthermore, the legacies of historical policies meant to disenfranchise Black homebuyers, like “redlining”, also contribute to the disproportionately low homeownership rates among Black Americans today.

That doesn’t mean that homeownership is an impossible goal for all Black Americans, though. Some types of loans might help those with low incomes and credit scores qualify for a mortgage. Nonetheless, the data indicates that achieving homeownership may be more challenging for Black homebuyers than other demographic groups.

Methodology

This study ranks the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) by the difference between the percentage of owner-occupied homes in that area that are owned by those who identify as Black (and no other race) and the percentage of an area’s population that identifies as Black (and no other race).

The further this difference is from zero, the more disproportionate the number of Black homeowners in an area is in the data. A positive difference indicates that Black homeowners own a disproportionately large share of homes, while a negative difference indicates they own a disproportionately small share of homes.

The population, homeownership and income data used in this study are based on estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey with five-year estimates.

LendingTree research analyst Jacob Channel contributed to this study.

 

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