Racial disparity in exposure to housing cost burden in the United States: 1980–2017

Chris Hess, Gregg Colburn, Kyle Crowder, Ryan Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article uses the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to analyse Black–White differences in housing cost burden exposure among renter households in the USA from 1980 to 2017, expanding understanding of this phenomenon in two respects. Specifically, we document how much this racial disparity changed among renters over almost four decades and identify how much factors associated with income or housing costs explain Black–White inequality in exposure to housing cost burden. For White households, the net contribution of household, neighbourhood and metropolitan covariates accounts for much of the change in the probability of housing cost burden over time. For Black households, however, the probability of experiencing housing cost burden continued to rise throughout the period of this study, even after controlling for household, neighbourhood and metropolitan covariates. This suggests that unobserved variables like racial discrimination, social networks or employment quality might explain the increasing disparity in cost burden among for Black and White households in the USA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1841
Number of pages21
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial support for this research came from a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research infrastructure grant, P2C HD042828, to the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology at the University of Washington.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Housing cost
  • cost burden
  • racial inequality

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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