MarketWatch: Missing millennial homeownership endangers the American Dream

MarketWatch, July 12, 2018: Missing millennial homeownership endangers the American Dream

No avocado toast jokes here.

Yes, a lot has been written already about the question of millennials and homeownership. But as a new report demonstrates, the stakes are high enough that when an entire generation takes a step backward in accessing ownership, it’s worth a little extra attention.

The report, out Wednesday from the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center, suggests that the story of millennials and homeownership is in many ways a story of inequality in America — and one that might be getting worse.

“Homeownership has historically been the best way to build wealth,” Laurie Goodman, the vice president of the Urban Institute center, told MarketWatch. “You look at the average wealth of homeowners – they’re more affluent to begin with, but homeownership for most Americans is the way to build wealth.”

Wealth matters in ways that earning power— jobs and wages — does not. If this path forward is cut off, it will reshape the American economy. And it may make many younger people feel they have it worse than their parents, in a cruel distortion of the American Dream.

The charts below show how closely homeownership and wealth are correlated, and why it’s so important to keep ownership as accessible as possible.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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