The Housing Conditions of Black Female-headed Households: A Comparative Analysis
Jamshid A. Momeni
It is axiomatic that America will attain neither national maturity nor unqualified international respect until minority groups share, in actuality, our cherished and vaunted democratic way of life. Still on the list of problem areas where inequities exist is the field of housing for minority groups.
Hubert M. Jackson, 1958
In 1949, the U.S. Congress proclaimed the national goal of "a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family." Housing quantity, quality, discrimination, and affordability have been the major areas of concern in the past thirty years for Americans in general, and minorities in particular. As several chapters in this book document, since the enunciation of the national housing goal the nation has significantly succeeded in solving the housing problems of the 1940s and the 1950s by eliminating both severe shortages and substandard units.
Despite the achievements, however, there is much more to be done if the national goal of a decent home and living environment for every American family is to be fully realized. By all standards of measurement, a substantial disparity in housing conditions by race, ethnicity, and income persists, pointing to the relative deprivation of certain socioeconomic groups in the society. Davis ( 1967) states: "Too many people in our country are badly housed. According to the 1960 census, 10.6 million units of the 58.3 million housing units were considered substandard. . . . Except where aided by grants or subsidies, the poor [emphasis mine] of the nation are found in substandard housing." The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights ( 1971: vii) pointed out the following: