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Race and Home Ownership from the Civil War to the Present


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  • William J. Collins
  • Robert A. Margo


We present estimates of home ownership for African-American and white households from 1870 to 2007. The estimates pertain to a sample of households headed by adult men participating in the labor force but the substantive findings are unchanged if the analysis is extended to all households. Over the entire period African-American households in the sample increased their home ownership rate by 46 percentage points, whereas the rate for white households increased by 20 percentage points. Thus, in the long run, the racial gap declined by 26 percentage points. Remarkably, 25 of the 26 point long-run narrowing occurred between 1870 and 1910. Since 1910, both white and black households have increased their rates of homeownership but the long-run growth in levels has been similar for both groups, and therefore the racial gap measured in percentage points was approximately constant over the past century.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16665.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Publication status: published as Collins, William J., and Robert A. Margo. 2011. "Race and Home Ownership from the End of the Civil War to the Present." American Economic Review, 101(3): 355-59.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16665

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  1. William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 2011. "Race and Home Ownership from the End of the Civil War to the Present," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 355-59, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert A. Margo & Leah Platt Boustan, 2011. "White Suburbanization And African-American Home Ownership, 1940-1980," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series, Boston University - Department of Economics WP2011-024, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Boustan, Leah P. & Margo, Robert A., 2013. "A silver lining to white flight? White suburbanization and African–American homeownership, 1940–1980," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 71-80.


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  1. Historical Economic Geography


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