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Race, Immigrant Status, and Housing Tenure Choice

Gary Painter, Stuart A. Gabriel, and Dowell Myers
This paper applies Census microdata from 1980 and 1990 to assess the determinants of housing tenure choice among racial and ethnic groups in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Like previous research, our results indicate that endowment differences (income, education, and immigrant status) largely explain the homeownership gap between Latinos and whites. In contrast to previous work, we find that Asians are as likely to choose homeownership as are whites, and that status as an immigrant did not portend lower homeownership rates among Asians. However, the endowment-adjusted homeownership choice differential between whites and blacks remains sizable; further, that gap more than doubled between 1980 and 1990, to a full 11 percentage points.