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Coronavirus Boosts Housing Stress in Black, Hispanic Populations

Census Bureau data finds that pandemic-caused housing stress hit minority populations hardest – 1 out of 5 owners had a problem paying June’s rent or mortgage.

NEW YORK – New Census Bureau data reveals that among adults living in households that rent or pay a monthly mortgage, more than one-fifth of Black and Hispanic/Latino households said their household either missed June rent or made their mortgage payment late – more than twice that of whites.

Even with federal economic relief measures, the pandemic still exacerbated longstanding racial gaps in financial security. The typical Black household’s net worth was just 10% of the typical white family’s in 2016, according to Federal Reserve data, including illiquid assets like home equity, while the corresponding figure for Hispanics was 12%.

Less wealth going into the pandemic-led recession means these families had a thinner financial cushion to soften the blow of unexpected expenses that emerged from the virus-related slowdown.

The census data showed that around 64% of Hispanics and 57% of Black respondents reported income losses since the pandemic began compared with 45% of whites. More than 60% of Black and Hispanic adults in households behind on rent or mortgage payments live with children, compared with 52% of white respondents.

Roughly 45% of Black households and 42% of Latino households are “cost burdened,” meaning they spend 30% or more of their income on housing costs, according to the Urban Institute; in comparison, it’s 27% for white households.

Homeownership rates for Black and Hispanic households are about three-fifths that of whites. Black families, in particular, continue to suffer from discriminatory practices limiting their access to credit and desirable real estate, as well as from predatory lending during the 2008 recession.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the impact on Black and Hispanic communities’ financial stability and housing security could reverberate for generations.

Source: Wall Street Journal (08/09/20) Guildford, Gwynn; Melgar, Luis

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