Report: Homes in Milwaukee’s black neighborhoods are significantly devalued

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Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 am

Homes in majority black neighborhoods in the metro Milwaukee area are devalued by 34 percent compared to similar homes in neighborhoods with less than one percent black population, according to a recent report from the Washington, DC-based Brookings Institution.

That difference is the eighth largest among 113 metro areas studied by the organization, placing Milwaukee among the top 10 areas with the most devaluation of homes in neighborhoods with predominantly African-American population.

The report samples the metropolitan areas throughout the country that have at least one majority African-American neighborhood, characterized by having at least 50 percent black population, and one non-black neighborhood, characterized by having less than one percent black population.

On a national scale, findings show owner-occupied homes in black neighborhoods are worth 23 percent less than similar homes in non-black neighborhoods– that is an average loss of $48,000 per home and $156 billion collectively.

Infographic from The Brookings Institution

Home devaluation in African-American neighborhoods, which Brookings defines as the percent decrease in median home values between majority black neighborhoods and non-black neighborhoods, directly correlate with segregation and “upward mobility of black children” in cities with majority black neighborhoods, the report says.

Locally, a 34.3 percent decrease of valuation in African-American neighborhoods means the median home value in those neighborhoods is $36,084 per home on average less than that of non-black neighborhoods. Those numbers correlate with a 70.5 score on an anti-black sentiment index from Google searches, and a 76.7 score on a segregation index, according to the study.

“Some of the most enduring and pernicious effects of the more than 350 years of slavery, Jim Crow racism, as well as de jure and de facto segregation in the U.S., have been the internalization of stereotypes, insults, and dehumanizing innuendos about black people, stemming from the malevolent use of such tropes by the (white) people in power to justify discrimination— what researchers describe as unconscious bias,” the report states.

Milwaukee joins Rochester, N.Y., Jacksonville, Fla., and Omaha, Neb. as the top three areas with the most black neighborhood home devaluation. At the bottom of the list is Wichita, Kan., Nashville, Tenn., and Boston, Mass. as the cities with least black neighborhood home devaluation.

Calculations for devaluation are based off Zillow’s median neighborhood home prices per square foot, and also took into account the homes’ “structural characteristics” and “neighborhood amenities” as both elements play a role in its valuation.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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