Housing policy in the United States has long been characterized by unequal investment in homeownership and low-income rental assistance, with implications for racial (and ethnic) inequality in access to stable housing. In this study, I examine socioeconomic status and neighborhood characteristics of non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black adults with children receiving HUD rental assistance using a nationally representative linked survey-administrative dataset. Results show that Black and White adults who receive rental assistance tend to have similar (low) incomes, yet Black adults experience significantly higher levels of neighborhood disadvantage than White adults. Furthermore, living in poverty is a substantially stronger predictor of receiving HUD rental assistance for White than Black adults. The results support the notion that rental assistance programs are a last resort for White households, many of whom may benefit from historical federal government support for homeownership. Rental assistance serves as an important safety net for Black families but fails to provide significant improvement in the neighborhood environment. The results contribute to a comprehensive understanding of racial inequality in the impacts of U.S. rental housing policy and the historical legacy of racial exclusion in U.S. homeownership programs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science
- Urban Studies