Cashing in on the American Dream: Racial Differences in Housing Values 1970–2000

Home ownership represents much more than shelter; home ownership is also indicative of an individual’s or a group’s social and economic standing. Racial and ethnic differences have been observed not only in home ownership but also in housing values. The present study examines the extent to which differences in housing values between Asians, blacks, Hispanics and whites, and among black ethnic groups, can be attributed to race and ethnicity or to other sociological factors such as age, gender, marital status, region, occupational score, nativity, year of immigration and English proficiency. Changes in the determinants of housing values between 1970 and 2000 are assessed over time as well as changes in the level of inequality on housing values between whites and non‐whites. The findings reveal that the housing gap between whites and non‐whites over the past few decades has actually grown over time. As home values make up the largest component of the average American’s portfolio, these findings may be significant in understanding and explaining the persistence of the racial wealth gap in America.