Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

What it would take to close the racial housing gap

A house for sale in Appleton, Minn.
An Appleton, Minn., home listed for sale in October 2015.
Mark Steil | MPR News 2015

The Twin Cities have one of the largest gaps in the country when it comes to homeownership rates between Black and white residents.

About 25 percent of Black families in the metro own their homes compared to 76 percent of white families, according to data from the Census Bureau.

Across Minnesota, 40 percent of families of color are considered to be “cost-burdened” by the state, meaning that many families have to skimp on other necessities, like groceries or medicine, in order to pay for their housing.

The chasm is also wide when it comes to educational outcomes and income levels.

Over time, policies like racial covenants, redlining and discriminatory lending have contributed to a persistent racial wealth gap that, by many measures, remains just as wide as it was in 1968.

Tuesday at 9 a.m., two experts joined MPR News with Kerri Miller for a conversation about the history and consequences of housing disparities.


  • MayKao Hang is the former CEO of the Wilder Foundation, she served on the Governor’s Housing Task Force, and was formerly a director with the St Paul Public Housing agency.  She is currently vice-president and founding dean of the Morrison Family College of Health at the University of St. Thomas. 

  • Lance Freeman is professor of Urban Planning at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and author of the book ”A Haven and a Hell: The Ghetto in Black America.”

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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