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Cityscape: Volume 10 Number 2 | Chapter 7


Homeownership Experience of Low-Income and Minority Households

Volume 10 Number 2

Changes in Rental Housing Discrimination Since 1989

Seok Joon Choi

Jan Ondrich

John Yinger

The work in this study was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (Grant No: H-21441RG). Points of view or opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of HUD.


This study examines the incidence and causes of housing discrimination in qualitative treatment by rental agents, using national audit data sets from the 2000 Housing Discrimination Study (HDS 2000) and the 1989 Housing Discrimination Study (HDS 1989). Using the fixed-effects logit method described by Chamberlain (1980), we control for unobservable factors shared by audit teammates and conduct hypothesis tests for the incidence and causes of discrimination. We find evidence that discrimination is present in HDS 2000 and is caused by both the prejudice of agents and their response to the prejudice of White clients. We also explore changes in discrimination since 1989 and changes in the causes of discrimination since 1989.

As did previous studies of HDS 1989 and HDS 2000, we find that rental housing discrimination against Blacks still exists but also that it declined significantly between 1989 and 2000. These studies indicate that, since 1989, discrimination against Hispanics has not declined as much or as consistently as has discrimination against Blacks. Our new analysis yields several hints about changes in the causes of discrimination between 1989 and 2000. We find a significant increase in discrimination against Blacks by large rental housing agencies and by Hispanic rental agents. We also find significant decreases in discrimination against Hispanics by female agents and that Hispanic renters with children face less discrimination in 2000 than they did in 1989.

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