IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Race and Home Ownership, 1900 to 1990


  • William J. Collins
  • Robert A. Margo


The historical evolution of racial differences in income in the 20th century United States has been examined intensively by economists, but the evolution of racial differences in wealth has been examined far less. This paper uses IPUMS data to study trends in racial differences in home ownership since 1900. At the turn of the century approximately 20 percent of black adult males (ages 20 to 64) owned their homes, compared with 46 percent of white men, a gap of 26 percentage points. By 1990, the black home ownership rate had increased to 52 percent and the racial gap had fallen to 19.5 percentage points. All of the long-term rise in the rate of black home ownership, and almost all of the corresponding long-term decline in the racial gap, occurred after 1940, with the majority of both changes concentrated in the 1960 to 1980 period. We also use the IPUMS to study trends in race differences in the incidence of mortgages, and in the value of owner-occupied housing.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Collins & Robert A. Margo, 1999. "Race and Home Ownership, 1900 to 1990," NBER Working Papers 7277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7277
    Note: DAE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Higgs, Robert, 1982. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 725-737, September.
    2. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 321-339.
    3. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-1643, December.
    4. Maloney, Thomas N., 1994. "Wage Compression and Wage Inequality Between Black and White Males in the United States, 1940–1960," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 358-381, June.
    5. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
    6. Terrell, Henry S, 1971. "Wealth Accumulation of Black and White Families: The Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 26(2), pages 363-377, May.
    7. Margo, Robert A, 1984. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I: Comment and Further Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 768-776, September.
    8. Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Recent Trends in the Size Distribution of Household Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
    9. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
    10. Yinger, John, 1986. "Measuring Racial Discrimination with Fair Housing Audits: Caught in the Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 881-893, December.
    11. Margo, Robert A., 1992. "Explaining the postwar suburbanization of population in the United States: The role of income," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 301-310, May.
    12. William J. Collins, 2001. "Race, Roosevelt, and Wartime Production: Fair Employment in World War II Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 272-286, March.
    13. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Gerardi Kristopher & Willen Paul, 2009. "Subprime Mortgages, Foreclosures, and Urban Neighborhoods," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(3), pages 1-37, March.
    2. Conlin, Michael & Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Chapman, Gabrielle, 2013. "Voluntary disclosure and the strategic behavior of colleges," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 48-64.
    3. Ihley, Dorothee & Siebert-Meyerhoff, Andrea, 2016. "The evolution of immigrants' homeownership in Germany," CAWM Discussion Papers 92, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7277. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.