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Large Study: Landlords Are Less Likely To Reply To Black, Latino Names

Large Study: Landlords Are Less Likely To Reply To Black, Latino Names

landlords study

Large Study: Landlords Are Less Likely To Reply To Black, Latino Names. Photo credit: fizkes / iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/fizkes?mediatype=photography

Potential renters with Black-sounding names have a more challenging time getting landlords to approve them for housing than people with so-called white-sounding names, according to a new study.

Landlords are less likely to respond to rental applicants with African American and Latino-sounding names when renting properties, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper is entitled “Racial Discrimination and Housing Outcomes in the United States Rental Market” and was authored by economist Peter Christensen; Ignacio Sarmiento-Barbieri, assistant professor at University of the Andes; and Christopher Timmins, a research associate in the Environmental and Energy Economics group at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Researchers made up fictitious renters with names more often associated with white, African American, or Hispanic identities for the study. In the most extensive study of its kind to date, researchers then tracked more than 25,000 interactions between those people and 8,476 property managers in 50 of the largest U.S. cities, Bloomberg reported. 

What the study found was that renters with white-sounding names received a 60 percent response rate. Those with African-American names had a response rate of 54 percent.

Most Twitter users who responded weren’t surprised by study’s findings.


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“No study was needed! We all have experienced this for years!” tweeted Professor X @AntTheKing.

“Y’all JUST found this out?! Why do you think so many of our parents gave us names ‘To give us a chance in the world?’ Unfortunately, racial bias is in the blood of this country,” tweeted Dwayne P @DP_RUwithme.

“Water is wet,” Winniie @Follow_My_Lead_ tweeted.

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Black renters found the most discrimination in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Louisville. For Latinos, landlords in Louisville, Houston, and Providence, Rhode Island, presented the most substantial constraints, the study found.

“Housing discrimination can have a critical impact on residential location choices and access to opportunity,” the paper said.

Researchers also found that a lack of a response to a Black renter or renter of color decreased the likelihood that someone of that same ethnic group would live in a property by as much as 17 percent.

Photo credit: fizkes istock