Owning a home isn't just a fragment of the American Dream, it's the key to it. Homeownership is also the primary way by which Americans accumulate wealth. American asset-building policies are heavily focused on homeownership, but these policies have discriminated against minorities in the past, and have left a lasting scar.
People of color continue to face barriers to homeownership. They are less likely to own a home (below) and less likely to get returns from the homes they do own, says Catherine Ruetschlin, senior policy analyst at Demos, a public policy organization. Ruetschlin and her colleagues have authored a new report with Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy showing the extent to which inequality in homeownership drives the racial wealth gap, and how eliminating this disparity could significantly reduce U.S. wealth inequality.