HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 03-060
MIchael Fluharty
(202) 708-0685 x 6605

For Release
July 1, 2003

Department Initiatives Aimed at Decreasing Discrimination Amongst Minorities

WASHINGTON - An 11-city study released today by the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that one out of every five Asians and Pacific Islanders attempting to buy or rent a home are discriminated against, a rate similar to that of African Americans and Hispanics.

Discrimination in Metropolitan Housing Markets: Phase 2 - Asians and Pacific Islanders, a study conducted in Anaheim/Santa Ana; Chicago; Honolulu; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Oakland, CA; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose; and Washington, DC, demonstrates that Asians and Pacific Islanders face discrimination. These metropolitan areas account for 77 percent of all Asians and Pacific Islanders living in the U.S.

The study, which was based on 889 paired-tests, is the first time HUD has measured the extent of housing discrimination against Asians and Pacific Islanders. Two previous HUD studies, conducted in 1977 and 1989, examined housing discrimination faced by African Americans and Hispanics. In 2002, HUD released Discrimination in Metropolitan Housing Markets: Phase I, a report showing that the level of discrimination against African Americans and Hispanics declined since 1989, but still remains a serious problem.

"In addition to using the research findings to document our nation's progress in reducing housing discrimination, we also will use the data to better target HUD's education and enforcement resources," said Carolyn Peoples, HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. "To achieve the Bush Administration's goal of increasing minority homeowners by the end of this decade, we need to ensure that every segment of our population has equal access to the housing of their choice."

Conducted by the Urban Institute for HUD, the study is the most ambitious effort to date to measure the extent of housing discrimination in the United States against persons because of their race or ethnicity.

Since 1989, HUD has competitively awarded grants to public and private fair housing groups as well as to state and local agencies under the Department's Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP). For FY 2004, the Bush Administration is requesting an eight percent increase for HUD's fair housing budget to nearly $50 million. Approximately $30 million will support FHAP, which forges partnerships between HUD and state and local jurisdictions to support enforcement, education and outreach activities. The remaining $20 million will assist FHIP, which provides grants to non-profit agencies that directly target discrimination and educate the public.

HUD is stepping up its enforcement of housing discrimination. Over the past two years, the number of backlogged cases of alleged discrimination has been significantly reduced. At the start of the Bush Administration, some 85 percent of cases were considered "aged" or over a hundred days old. By last October, that rate was down to 29 percent. Similarly, backlogged cases among state and local HUD contractors dropped from 69 to 44 percent.

In April, HUD, in partnership with the Ad Council, unveiled a new cutting edge, multimedia campaign designed to fight housing discrimination by showing the many faces of those persons protected by the nation's 35-year-old Fair Housing Act.

Study Details

The study uses a technique called "paired testing" to measure the level of housing discrimination. In a paired test, two people - a minority and a white non-Hispanic - pose as otherwise identical homeseekers, with comparable housing needs and levels of income, assets and debt. Both testers respond to an advertisement by visiting the same real estate or rental agent within a short time of one another and independently record their experiences. Analysts then compare those experiences to determine which tester received adverse treatment on different treatment variables. Treatment variables are the various opportunities agents have to behave differently toward the testers. For example, each tester asks about the same advertised unit. If the unit is available to one and not the other, that test is recorded as showing adverse treatment toward the tester for whom the unit was not available.

Specifically, the study found that Asian and Pacific Islander prospective renters experienced "consistent adverse treatment" relative to comparable whites in 21.5 percent of tests, about the same rate experienced by prospective African American and Hispanic renters.

Asian and Pacific Islander prospective homebuyers experienced "consistent adverse treatment" relative to comparable whites 20.4 percent of the time, with "systematic discrimination" occurring in housing availability, inspections, financing assistance, and agent encouragement.

Consistent Adverse Treatment is the percent of tests where a minority tester experiences unfavorable treatment on one or more of the 15 treatment indicators and receives favorable treatment relative to a comparable white tester on none of the 15 treatment indicators. This is considered the best estimate of the level of discrimination.

Systematic Discrimination is the difference between the percent of tests that a white is favored on a particular treatment indicator versus the percent of tests that a minority is favored.

In addition to the national estimate for Asians and Pacific Islanders, the report also provides a national estimate for Asians alone, an estimate for the continental U.S., statewide estimate of discrimination against Asians and Pacific Islanders in California, estimates of discrimination faced by Chinese and Koreans in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and an estimate of discrimination faced by Southeast Asians in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.

Future studies will provide statewide estimates of discrimination against Native Americans and metropolitan estimates of discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Copies of the report can be downloaded from as well as ordered on line or by calling (800) 245-2691.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.

Anyone who believes they have experienced housing discrimination should call HUD's Housing Discrimination Hotline at (800) 669-9777, or visit HUD's fair housing website.



Content Archived: April 22, 2010