National Institute on Aging

The Huge Racial Gap in Homeownership Rates in the United States

The U.S. Bureau of the Census recently released a new report on homeownership rates in the United States. The report shows that in the first quarter of 2020, 65.3 percent of all Americans owned their home. This was up a full percentage point from the first quarter of 2019,

The homeownership rate reached a high of 69.1 percent in the first quarter of 2005. Homeownership dropped following the 2008-09 Great Recession and then began to rise again in 2017.

The racial gap in homeownership rates is huge. In the first quarter of 2020, 73.7 percent of non-Hispanic Whites owned their home. For African Americans, 44 percent owned their home. The good news is that the percentage of African Americans who owned their home has increased from 40.6 percent in the second quarter of 2019 to 44 percent in the first quarter of 2020.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black homeownership rates is unknown. But it is likely that in an economic downturn, African Americans will be hit harder than Whites.

Why are these statistics relevant to higher education? The simple fact is that many American families use the equity in their home to finance the higher education of their children or grandchildren. Since this source of wealth is less available to Black families, this places African Americans at a disadvantage in financing higher education.

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