Minorities face more subtle housing discrimination, HUD finds


WASHINGTON — While the “blatant acts of housing discrimination” that minorities face has continued to decline in the U.S., “more subtle forms of housing denial” continue, states a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute in a study that was released June 11. According to “Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012,” African Americans, Hispanics and Asians “learn about fewer housing options than equally qualified whites.”

According to a statement issued by HUD, “real estate agents and rental housing providers recommend and show fewer available homes and apartments to minority families, thereby increasing their costs and restricting their housing options.” The study reports that this is a national “phenomenon,” the statement said.

In conducting the study, the Urban Institute employed a “‘paired testing’ methodology in which researchers compared the treatment of white and minority homeseekers in a nationally representative sample of 28 metropolitan areas. Of the more than 8,000 paired tests, two trained individuals (one white and the other black, Hispanic, or Asian), contacted a housing provider to inquire about a unit randomly selected from recently advertised homes and apartments. The two testers in each pair were matched on gender, age and family composition and assigned the same financial characteristics. With each tester presenting as unambiguously and equally well qualified to rent or buy the advertised unit, testers independently recorded the treatment they experienced, including information about all the homes or apartments recommended and shown,” the statement said.

According to the statement, whereas “black renters today appear less likely than a decade ago to be told that advertised units are unavailable, Asian renters are more likely than a decade ago to be shown fewer units but they are less likely to experience adverse treatment when making future arrangements with the agent.”

HUD has sponsored a series of four national studies, which have aimed to “measure housing discrimination in approximately each decade rental and sales markets,” since 1979.

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