Racial Inequalities in Home Ownership
Mary R. Jackman and Robert W. Jackman
Home ownership is an intrinsic part of the American dream. The purchase of a home has a special significance in the establishment of a family: it is, in fact, the single most important purchase that most families face. Apart from its importance as a symbol of status and security, home ownership also bestows considerable financial benefits. Since housing absorbs a bigger fraction of their budget, these financial benefits are particularly significant for people of low to middle income, who have fewer opportunities for alternative investment. In fact, home ownership is generally regarded as a primary method of capital accumulation, especially for low to middle income families (e.g., Kain and Quigley, b). Besides the wealth that accrues from housing equity itself, the well-known tax savings from home ownership also contribute to capital formation. While these tax savings increase with income ( Aaron), they are more significant for families of low to middle income because there are fewer other tax shelters available for them. Finally, of course, home ownership is an important hedge against inflation, especially for those who must devote a larger portion of their income to housing (e.g., the calculations in Kain and Quigley, b, Appendix C).
In this chapter, we examine patterns of home ownership among white and black Americans. Major inequalities between blacks and whites have been shown in the distributions of educational attainment, occupational____________________
Reprinted, with changes, from Social Forces 58( 4): 1221-1234 ( June 1980), by permission of the authors and the publisher. Copyright 1980 by The University of North Carolina Press.