Read about Redlining and its Effects

Learning about Redlining and the Inequities it Causes

Redlining, a term used to describe the sectioning off of neighborhoods during segregation, has caused inequity in access to education, healthcare, access to food, and more. Redlining originally happened in 1933 when the government designed to segregate and increase housing in america. The government provided housing to the white, middle class families and pushed the families of color into urban housing projects. The government continued this by denying to insure all of the mortgages in and  around these urban housing projects and even subsidized any contractors producing homes for white families if they agreed to sell none of them to primarily Black, but also  Catholic, Jewish, or Asian people. 


Redlining comes from the New Deal, when each federal government map was color-coded by Home Owners Loan Corp, then Federal Housing Administration, and then the Veterans Administrations. The colors corresponded to the areas that were safe to issue and insure mortgages, so the areas that were red were not safe. The red areas were these Black communities. 


  Most families in the middle class gain wealth from the equity in their homes. Black families’ incomes are 60% of the average white families but Black wealth is 5% of white wealth. This staggering difference is believed to be caused by the housing policies, which continued until about 1950. Once the Fair Housing Act of 1968 said that Black families could now buy homes in certain cities, it really didn’t matter because at that point, the homes weren’t affordable to the families that could have afforded them when white families were moving into those suburbs. Because white families were able to profit off of their equities from their homes, they had an easier time to send their kids to college and provide wealth to them throughout their lives-- which Black families could not. 

This segregation affects us to this day. Because families who live in those redlined neighborhoods already have less access and opportunity than those who don’t. Since public education is related to property taxes, schools serving redlined neighborhoods will have less money to support them than schools in other neighborhoods. Additionally, the schools will be rated lower than schools in non-redlined neighborhoods, reinforcing this inequity. Families can’t always move into a better school district because they can’t afford that neighborhood, which perpetuates this endless cycle. These neighborhoods would often get bad reputations and are deemed to not have commercial viability, which means they have difficulty attracting businesses and employment opportunities. Additionally, hospital closures have been more common in areas with more non-white patients (i.e. these redlined neighborhoods), so it can be hard to find a provider in these lower income areas.