Housing Discrimination Research

Posted Date:   

  • July 16, 2015
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PD&R studies the presence and extent of discrimination in the housing market. It has performed such studies for over 40 years and has expanded its focus to various markets.

Current research studies focusing on discrimination include:

Housing Discrimination Against Racial And Ethnic Minorities 2012

For much of the twentieth century, discrimination by private real estate agents and rental property owners helped establish and sustain stark patterns of housing and neighborhood inequality. Beginning in the late 1970s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has rigorously monitored trends in racial and ethnic discrimination in both rental and sales markets approximately once each decade through a series of nationwide paired-testing studies. This summary report presents findings from the fourth such study, which applied paired-testing methodology in 28 metropolitan areas to measure the incidence and forms of discrimination experienced by black, Hispanic, and Asian renters and homebuyers.

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An Estimate of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples

This is the first large-scale, paired-testing study to assess housing discrimination against same-sex couples in metropolitan rental markets via advertisements on the Internet. The research is based on 6,833 e-mail correspondence tests conducted in 50 metropolitan markets across the United States from June through October 2011. For each correspondence test, two e-mails were sent to the housing provider, each inquiring about the availability of the unit advertised on the Internet. The only difference between the two e-mails was the sexual orientation of the couple making the inquiry. Two sets of correspondence tests were conducted, one assessing the treatment of gay male couples relative to heterosexual couples and one assessing the treatment of lesbian couples relative to heterosexual couples. This methodology provides the first direct evidence of discriminatory treatment of same-sex couples compared with the treatment of heterosexual couples when searching for rental housing advertised on the Internet in the United States.

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Housing Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market Against People Who Are Deaf and People Who Use Wheelchairs: National Study Findings

This report provides results of the first national paired-testing study of housing discrimination against people who are deaf or hard of hearing and against people who use wheelchairs. Given differences in the challenges faced by people who are deaf or hard of hearing from those experienced by people who use wheelchairs, there are two study designs. Tests with people who are deaf or hard of hearing focused on housing searches conducted with telecommunication relay services, whereas tests with people who use wheelchairs focused on housing searches for accessible buildings and housing units. In both cases, there is systematic evidence of unfavorable treatment. The findings presented here have broad implications for policymakers, fair housing practitioners, and researchers, telecommunications engineers, professionals in the housing construction industry, and those in housing management firms.

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Families with children (Report Forthcoming)

Study of Rental Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Disability (Report Forthcoming)

HUD’s Study of Rental Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Mental Disability was launched in the fall of 2012 with the goal of expanding the Department’s understanding of housing discrimination in the rental market on the basis of mental disability, including the forms and prevalence of such housing discrimination. Tasks included:

  1. establishment of an Expert Panel to provide guidance to the Contract team and HUD over the course of the project;
  2. systematic and rigorous review of a sample of housing discrimination complaints where mental disability has been the basis of complaint (TEAPOTS);
  3. series of short papers on relevant topics;
  4. pilot testing in two communities.

The pilot testing had two primary goals: 1) to conduct pilot testing using several modes of data collection, including telephone, e-mail, and in-person testing, to determine to feasibility and validity of measuring housing discrimination across these different modes of testing, and 2) assessing the feasibility of involving people with MI and I/DD in testing. The final report documents the results of the over 1,000 paired tests that were conducted during the pilot testing phase of the study, and offers observations about the feasibility of utilizing the various modes of testing to develop a national estimate of housing discrimination in the rental market on the basis of mental disability.

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