News Brief

Historically Redlined Neighborhoods Still Struggling

New data reveal the continued fallout of overt government racism from the 20th century.

Source: Lightbox
It’s been decades since redlining—the federal government practice of refusing to guarantee loans in predominantly black neighborhoods—was outlawed in the U.S. But the impacts continue to ripple through formerly redlined neighborhoods, according to data released by LightBox, a geospatial data and software firm focused on the real estate industry.

“Generally—not in every case—we see assessed value and internet connectivity are lower” in formerly redlined neighborhoods, explained Zach Wade, vice president of data science at LightBox. This study was unique, said Wade, in its granularity. Rather than relying on high-level census data, “we have a rich dataset of property information, including historical transaction data, pricing data, and property characteristics.”

An analysis of the ten largest cities in the U.S. showed that in nine of those cities, home prices in formerly redlined areas were lower, often dramatically so. For example, in New York City, average home value in neighborhoods described as “best” by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation during the era of redlining is around $1.2 million, whereas it’s around $600,000 for those once described as “hazardous.” The one exception was Fort Worth, Texas, where the so-called best neighborhoods have lower property values than the so-called hazardous ones.

Although internet connection is not always correlated with income, in urban areas it often is, according to Wade, and the lower levels of connectivity in formerly redlined areas indicate reduced ability to, for example, succeed in school.

Wade said that LightBox has released the data in the hope that policymakers and academics will use it to dig deeper and potentially find ways to address persistent wealth inequalities.

More on racial justice and the building industry

No More Red Lines: Undoing Our Legacy of Urban Segregation

Equity in Design and Construction: Seven Case Studies

Racial Equity Impact Assessments and How They Work

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Published August 8, 2022

Melton, P. (2022, July 20). Historically Redlined Neighborhoods Still Struggling. Retrieved from

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