Turner said paired testing can’t capture all the forms of discrimination that might occur. Also because testers presented themselves as unambiguously well qualified for the apartments, the results don’t reflect the average minority home seeker. The study’s findings probably understate the level of discrimination occurring, she said.
Study authors said enforcement of housing discrimination laws cannot rely heavily on victims’ individual complaints because the type of discrimination seen in the study is virtually impossible for a victim to detect.
The study’s findings include:
— Black testers wanting to rent were told about 11.4 percent fewer units and shown 4.2 percent fewer. Black testers wanting to buy a home were told about 17 percent fewer homes and shown 17.7 percent fewer homes.
— Hispanic testers were told about 12.5 percent fewer units to rent and shown 7.5 percent fewer. There were no statistically significant differences in the number of homes shows white testers compared to Hispanic testers. Authors said, that finding reflects a long-term decline against Hispanic testers wanting to buy homes.
— Asian testers were told about 9.8 percent fewer and told about 6.6 percent fewer rental units. They were told about 15.5 percent and shown 18.8 percent fewer homes to buy.
The country has a long legacy of pushing minorities in to certain neighborhoods and denying them access to those reserved largely for whites, thus creating racially segregated communities, many of which continue today. A string of tactics have been used from writing covenants that restrict the buy or sale of property to people of a certain race or ethnicity to financial institutions refusing to provide loans to minorities.
Predatory lending that has been blamed in part for the most recent housing crisis was often targeted to racially segregated neighborhoods.
“We should not be under any illusion the job is done. The message clearly should not be it is time to relent on fair housing activities,” Donovan said.