Racial Contrasts in Housing the Poor
Stehouwer, Wendy B.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the milieu of inadequate housing and the quality of life among households in poverty in the United States. Quality of life will be defined as the combination of the housing unit's inadequacy level and the respondent's level of satisfaction with that unit. While it has generally been accepted that race is a determinant of housing inadequacy, other factors such as neighborhood quality, housing tenure and poverty assistance programs appear to act as intervening variables. A subsample from the 1987 American Housing Survey was used to study the contrasts between white and black households in poverty. The study was conducted on a weighted sample of 11,926,000 households using bivariate and multivariate analyses. Findings in this study showed that residence in public housing projects and home ownership differed racially. The racial differences in housing inadequacy levels tended to be best explained by housing assistance. Housing satisfaction seemed to be most influenced by neighborhood satisfaction and housing inadequacy. The link between race and housing satisfaction weakened as the above mentioned variables were included in a multivariate analysis. This suggests that the apparent correlation between race and housing quality is due not to a direct relationship, but rather to these factors as intervening variables..