Washington Post: Redlining was banned 50 years ago. It’s still hurting minorities today.

Washington Post, March 28, 2018: Redlining was banned 50 years ago. It’s still hurting minorities today.

Racial discrimination in mortgage lending in the 1930s shaped the demographic and wealth patterns of American communities today, a new study shows, with 3 out of 4 neighborhoods “redlined” on government maps 80 years ago continuing to struggle economically.

The study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, released Wednesday, shows that the vast majority of neighborhoods marked “hazardous” in red ink on maps drawn by the federal Home Owners’ Loan Corp. from 1935 to 1939 are today much more likely than other areas to comprise lower-income, minority residents.

“Homeownership is the number-one method of accumulating wealth, but the effect of these policies that create more hurdles for the poor is a permanent underclass that’s disproportionately minority,” said John Taylor, president and chief executive of the NCRC. “I think most people believe the problem is not with the rules but with the people. Most middle-class whites in America don’t have empirical observations of what happens in underserved neighborhoods or understand the historical treatment of poor and minority communities.”

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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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