Racial Inequalities in Housing: An Examination of Recent Trends
Suzanne M. Bianchi, Reynolds Farley, and Daphne Spain
A major objective of housing legislation since 1949 has been to insure adequate housing for all Americans, regardless of race. The slow progress toward that goal was reflected in the passage of another Fair Housing Act in 1968. More than a decade has passed since then, and there is still evidence that blacks and whites do not have equal access to good housing.
Two types of racial differentiation in the housing market can be identified. First, there is a high level of racial residential segregation in metropolitan areas ( Simkus, 1978; Van Valey, et al., 1977). Blacks are concentrated in central cities while the suburbs remain predominantly white. In 1977, 24 percent of black metropolitan households were in the suburbs, compared with 59 percent of white metropolitan households ( U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1979b).
A second kind of racial differentiation involves the type and quality of housing occupied by blacks and whites. Blacks typically live in lower quality housing than whites, occupy older housing, and are less likely to own their own homes ( Jackman and Jackman, 1980). Not only is initial housing equity difficult for blacks to acquire; it is also more difficult for blacks than whites to recover accumulated equity. Controlling for type of unit, neighborhood, and buyers' characteristics, Lake ( 1981) found that houses sold by blacks command an average of 10 percent less than comparable houses sold by whites.____________________