Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Housing and Mortgage Lending Markets: A Quantitative Review of Trends, 1976–2016

Lincoln Quillian*, John J. Lee, Brandon Honoré

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We examine trends in racial and ethnic discrimination in U.S. housing and mortgage lending markets through a quantitative review of studies. We code and analyze as a time series results from 16 field experiments of housing discrimination and 19 observational studies of mortgage lending discrimination. Consistent with prior research, we find evidence of a decline in housing discrimination from the late 1970s to the present. Our results show that this trend holds in both the national audits sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and in non-HUD studies. The decline in discrimination is strongest for discrimination that involves direct denial of housing availability, for which discrimination has declined to low levels. The downward trend in discrimination is weaker for measures reflecting the number of units recommended and inspected, and significant discrimination remains for these outcomes. In the mortgage market, we find that racial gaps in loan denial have declined only slightly, and racial gaps in mortgage cost have not declined at all, suggesting persistent racial discrimination. We discuss the implications of these trends for housing inequality, racial segregation, and racial disparities in household wealth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-28
Number of pages16
JournalRace and Social Problems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Discrimination
  • Housing
  • Mortgage
  • Race
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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