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Housing Discrimination in Metropolitan America: Explaining Changes between 1989 and 2000

Stephen L. Ross, Margery Austin Turner
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/sp.2005.52.2.152 152-180 First published online: 1 May 2005


African Americans and Hispanics traditionally have faced many barriers that limit their access to and choice of housing. During summer and fall 2000, local fair housing organizations conducted 4,600 paired tests across 20 major metropolitan areas nationwide. These surveys directly compared real estate or rental offices' treatment of African Americans and Hispanics to that of whites. The 2000 study replicates a 1989 national paired testing study, providing the most complete information available about the persistence of housing market discrimination against African American and Hispanic home seekers. The study finds that disparate treatment discrimination in rental and owner-occupied housing markets persists, but has declined substantially in magnitude over the last decade. Key exceptions to this general decline are discrimination against Hispanics in access to rental housing, racial steering of African Americans, and less assistance to Hispanics in obtaining financing provided.

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