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Mark Whitehouse

Black Poverty Is Rooted in Real-Estate Exploitation

A new study in Chicago shows how the dream of homeownership was converted into a poverty trap.

There’s a reason.

There’s a reason.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

One question is -- or should be -- central to any assessment of the state of America: Why, more than a century and a half after slavery ended, does the typical black family remain so much poorer than the typical white family?

A new study on housing in Chicago illustrates a big part of the answer: Generation after generation, the U.S. system of real-estate finance has enriched whites at the expense of blacks.