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Black renters pay more in a white neighborhood, study finds. But just how much more?

A study found that black renters pay more than white renters when moving, regardless of the house or the diversity of the neighborhood, and the price goes up as the percentage of white residents does as well.
A study found that black renters pay more than white renters when moving, regardless of the house or the diversity of the neighborhood, and the price goes up as the percentage of white residents does as well. AP

When black renters pay their landlord, a new study says, they have to fork over more cash than a white person living in the same neighborhood.

A study published in the journal Social Science Research Network examined data from 400,000 people who lived throughout “all parts of the country.” It found that black people ended up paying extra to live in an area — regardless of the location or how diverse it is.

“This pattern holds across different types of areas, namely the 50 largest metro areas, all other metro areas, non-metro areas, and areas with the highest and lowest levels of racial segregation in housing,” the study’s authors wrote.

Still, the make-up of a neighborhood does provide some hints about how much a black renter will pay compared to a white one.

The researchers found that a black person moving into a neighborhood with under 10 percent of white residents will have to pay just 0.6 percent more than a white renter, as noted by CBS. The study found a black renter can expect to pay an average of 2.4 percent more than a white person if they move into a majority-white area.

The study comes at a time when the home ownership rate and median household income for black Americans is disproportionately lower than that for white Americans. Fifty-eight percent of black households were rented in 2016, the Pew Research Center found, compared to just 28 percent of white households.

The percentage of black Americans who owned a house in 2015 was actually the same as it was back in 1968, when it was legal to discriminate in housing, according to The Washington Post.

In general, the new study finds that the extra cost black renters pay is strongly tied to the proportion of the area’s population that is white. In other words, a neighborhood gets more expensive for a black renter when it has more white people living inside it.

Specifically, black renters can expect to pay one percent more than white renters if they move into an area that is 25 to 35 percent white, the study says. That increases to just over 2.5 percent more if a neighborhood is 40 to 45 percent white — and 3.5 percent more if the area is 65 to 70 percent white.

If a neighborhood is 70 to over 95 percent white, the study found, the average increase of rent for black people sits around 3 percent when compared to white residents.

Daniel Kay Hertz, who covers policy for the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, tweeted out a graph that visualizes the data.

Another study detected a gulf between the wealth of white and black households.

Titled “The Road to Zero Wealth,” the research found that the median wealth of a black household in 2013 was just $1,700 — a decrease from the median wealth of $6,800 that black households had in 1983.

For comparison, the study found in 2013 that white Americans had a median household wealth of $116,800, an increase over the $102,000 median wealth they had in 1983.

That means the household wealth of white Americans increased by 14 percent between 1983 and 2013, the study says, while it decreased by 75 percent for black Americans.

Tom Hanchett, a Charlotte historian, talks about income inequality and how it hurts us all.

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