U.S. Latinos/as and the “American Dream”: Diverse Populations and Unique Challenges in Housing

  • Eileen Diaz McConnell

Housing has numerous impacts on the daily lives of individuals and families. For example, the cost of shelter influences what can be spent on other items such as education, transportation, or entertainment. Inferior-quality housing can lead to accidents and poor health. Housing conditions such as overcrowding influence whether household members have privacy and space to engage in various activities such as homework. Critical housing issues include the affordability of housing, the extent to which families are “cost-burdened” due to the high cost of housing, housing quality, the value and equity of owned-housing, and the stability of households, among others.1 These matters have important consequences for children, families, communities, and the nation as a whole. Further, common practices such as redlining, a widespread banking policy after World War II through the 1970s that excluded racial and ethnic minorities from obtaining mortgage loans, real estate agents steering minorities to particular neighbourhoods, and other housing practices have had differential impacts on Americans by race and ethnicity (Squires, 1992) and have been particularly devastating for minorities, including Latinos (Diaz, 2005). Given this context, it is especially important to evaluate how housing outcomes continue to differ across racial and ethnic lines. Housing issues matter for the substantial Latino population in the United States, their physical and mental health, and their ability to save and to accumulate wealth. Latinos are a significant and fast-growing component of the housing market, because of international migration, fertility rates, and their relative youth. Indeed, between 1995 and 2005, Latino-headed households increased at a faster rate than non-Latino households, accounting for more than 27% of the total increase in U.S. households (JCHS, 2006). In the decade after 1995, Latino households grew by at least 50% in nearly every state in the country, accounting for all of the household growth in central cities, 26% in suburban households, and offset non-Latino declines in rural households (Ready, 2006).


Housing Cost Mexican Immigrant Housing Tenure Latino Immigrant Homeownership Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acuña, R. F. (1972). Occupied America. San Francisco: Canfield Press.Google Scholar
  2. Alba, R. D., & Logan, J. R. (1992). Assimilation and stratification in the homeownership patterns of racial and ethnic groups. International Migration Review, 26, 1314–1341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). (2002, November). Separate and Unequal: Predatory Lending in America. ACORN Predatory Lending Report. Washington, DC: ACORN.Google Scholar
  4. Barrera, M. (1979). Race and Class in the Southwest. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  5. Blank, S. (1998). Health and Home: The Living Arrangements of Mexican Immigrants and U.S.-Born Mexican Americans. Sociological Forum, 13, 35–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blank, S., & Torrecilha, R. (1998). Understanding the living arrangement of Latino immigrants: A Life Course Approach. International Migration Review, 32, 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borjas, G. (2002). Homeownership in the immigrant population. Journal of Urban Economics, 52(3), 448–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2005). Current Metropolitan Statistical Areas Tables. Tables 7, 8, 21, 22, 24: Selected Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Average Annual Expenditures and Characteristics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2002–2003. Table 2200: Hispanic or Latino origin of reference person: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2003.Google Scholar
  9. Callis, R. R. (2003, September). Moving to America—Moving to Homeownership: 1994–2002 U.S. Census Bureau, Current Housing Reports, H121/03–1. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  10. Callis, R. R., & Cavanaugh, L. B. (2006, January). Census Bureau Reports on Residential Vacancies and Homeownership. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce.Google Scholar
  11. Center for Puerto Rican Studies–CUNY. (2003). Housing Emergency and Overcrowding: Latinos in New York City. Centro Policy Brief, 1(1), 1–8.Google Scholar
  12. Chandrasekhar, C. A. (2004). Can New Americans Achieve the American Dream? Promoting Homeownership in Immigrant Communities. Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review, 39, 169–216.Google Scholar
  13. Clark, W. A. V. (2003). Immigrants and the American Dream: Remaking the Middle Class. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  14. Cobb-Clark, D. A., & Hildebrand, V. (2006a, January). The Portfolio Choices of Hispanic Couples. Discussion Paper No. 1948. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).Google Scholar
  15. Cobb-Clark, D. A., & Hildebrand, V. (2006b). The Wealth and Asset Holdings of U.S.-Born and Foreign-Born Households: Evidence from SIPP data. Review of Income and Wealth, 52(1), 17–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Coulson, N. E. (1999). Why Are Hispanic and Asian-American Homeownership Rates So Low? Immigration and Other Factors. Journal of Urban Economics, 45, 209–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Derus, M. (2006, October 24). 4 times as many home foreclosures predicted; Heavy debt, housing. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.Google Scholar
  18. Di, Z. X. (2005). Does Housing Wealth Contribute to or Temper the Widening Wealth Gap in America? Housing Policy Debate, 16(2), 281–296.Google Scholar
  19. Diaz, D. R. (2005). Barrio Urbanism: Chicanos, Planning, and American Cities. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Dietz, R. (2002). The Estimation of Neighborhood Effects in the Social Sciences: An Interdisciplinary Review. Social Science Research, 31, 539–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Elmelech, Y. (2004). Housing Inequality in New York City: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Homeownership and Shelter-Cost Burden. Housing, Theory, and Society, 21(4), 163–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. FFIEC (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council). (2004). Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Reports-Nationwide Summary Statistics for 2003 HMDA Data. Aggregate Report Search by Metropolitan Statistical Areas, (Tables 4–1, 4–2). FFIEC. Arlington: VA.Google Scholar
  23. Fishbein, A. J., & Woodall, P. (2006). Subprime Locations: Patterns of Geographic Disparity in Subprime Lending. Washington, DC: Consumer Federation of America. September 5.Google Scholar
  24. Flippen, C. A. (2001). Racial and Ethnic Inequality in Homeownership and Housing Equity. The Sociological Quarterly, 42(2), 121–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Flippen, C. A. (2004). Unequal Returns to Housing Investments? A Study of Real Housing Appreciation Among Black, White, and Hispanic Households. Social Forces, 82(4), 1523–1551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Friedman, S., & Rosenbaum, E. (2004). Nativity Status and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Access to Quality Housing: Does Homeownership Bring Greater Parity? Housing Policy Debate, 15(4), 865–901.Google Scholar
  27. Gallagher, M. (2005). Alternative IDS, ITIN Mortgages and Emerging Latino Markets. Protfitwise News and Views, Newsletter of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. March, 2–7.Google Scholar
  28. Grow, B., Carter A., Crockett, R.O., & Smith, G. (2005, July 18). Embracing Illegals. Business Week, No. 3943:56–62.Google Scholar
  29. Guzmán, B., & McConnell, E. D. (2002). The Hispanic population: 1990–2000 growth and change. Population Research and Policy Review, 21(1–2), 109–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Humphreys, J. M. (2002). The Multicultural Economy: Minority Buying Power in the New Century. Georgia Business and Economic Conditions, 62(2), 1–27.Google Scholar
  31. JCHS (Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University). (2006). The State of the Nation’s Housing 2006. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.Google Scholar
  32. Kochhar, R. (2004, October). The Wealth of Hispanic Households: 1996 to 2002, Pew Hispanic Center Report. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  33. Krivo, L. J. (1986). Homeownership Differences Between Hispanics and Anglos in the United States. Social Problems, 33, 319–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krivo, L. J. (1995). Immigrant Characteristics and Hispanic-Anglo Housing Inequality. Demography, 32(4), 599–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Krivo, L. J., & Kauffman, R. L. (2004). Housing and Wealth Inequality: Racial-Ethnic Differences in Home Equity in the United States. Demography, 41(3), 585–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lee, J., Tornatzky, L., & Torres, C. (2004). El Sueño de Su Casa: The Homeownership Potential of Mexican-Heritage Families. Claremont, CA: Tomás Rivera Policy Institute CA.Google Scholar
  37. Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research. (2002). Separate and Unequal: Racial and Ethnic Neighborhoods in the 21 st Century and Sortable Lists of Population Data for Hispanic National-Origin Groups. Albany, NY: University of Albany–SUNY.Google Scholar
  38. Lipman, B. (2005, April). The Housing Landscape for America’s Working Families, 2005. New Century Housing. Washington, DC: Center for Housing Policy, 5(1).Google Scholar
  39. Llana, S. M. (2006, March 21). Homeowners Stretched Perilously. Christian Science Monitor.Google Scholar
  40. Lopez-Aqueres, W., Skaga, J., & Kugler, T. (2003). Housing California’s Latino Population in the 21 st Century: The Challenge Ahead (Research Report 1050). Claremont, CA: Tomás Rivera Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  41. McConnell, E. D. (2005, June 1). No Place Like Home: The State of Hispanic housing in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City, 2003 (Research Report). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  42. McConnell, E. D., & Marcelli, E. A. (2007). Buying into the American Dream? Mexican Immigrants, Legal Status, and Homeownership in Los Angeles County. Social Science Quarterly, 88(1), 199–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. National Community Reinvestment Coalition. (2006, May). The 2005 Fair Lending Disparities: Stubborn and Persistent II. National Community Reinvestment Coalition Report. Washington, DC: National Community Reinvestment Coalition.Google Scholar
  44. Painter, G. D., Gabriel, S., & Myers, D. (2001). Race, Immigrant Status, and Housing Tenure Choice. Journal of Urban Economics, 49, 150–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Papademetriou, D., & Ray, B. (2004). From Homeland to a Home: Immigrants and Homeownership in Urban America. Fannie Mae Papers. 3(1), 1–16.Google Scholar
  46. Paral, R., & Associates. (2004). The Potential for New Latino Homeownership Among Undocumented Latino Immigrants. Report prepared for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Washington, DC: National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.Google Scholar
  47. Ready, T. J. (2006, June). Hispanic housing in the United States 2006. Research Report. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, Institute for Latino Studies and Esperanza USA).Google Scholar
  48. Rosenbaum, E., & Friedman, S. (2004). Generational Patterns in Home Ownership and Housing Quality Among Racial/Ethnic Groups in New York City, 1999. International Migration Review, 38(4), 1492–1533.Google Scholar
  49. Squires, G. D. (1992). From Redlining to Reinvestment. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Squires, G. D. (Ed.). (1997). Insurance Redlining: Disinvestment, Reinvestment, and the Evolving Role of Financial Institutions. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
  51. Steitfield, D., & Zimmerman, M. (2006). More Homeowners Going into Default. Los Angeles Times. October 19, 2006.Google Scholar
  52. Suro, R., & Tafoya, S. (2004, December 27). Dispersal and Concentration: Patterns of Latino Residential Settlemen. Pew Hispanic Center Report. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  53. Tedeschi, B. (2006). It Seemed Like a Good Bet at the Time. New York Times. September 24, 2006.Google Scholar
  54. Toussaint-Comeau, M., & Rhine, S. L.W. (2004). Tenure Choice with Location Selection: The Case of Hispanic Neighborhoods in Chicago. Contemporary Economic Policy, 22(1), 95–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.) 2000 Census of Population and Housing, Summary File 1 (SF1), Summary File 2 (SF2), Summary File 3 (SF3) (generated by Eileen Diaz McConnell using American Factfinder). Retrieved July 14, 2006, from
  56. Van Kerkhove, B. (2005). The Homeowners Insurance Gap: How Race and Neighborhood Composition Explain Cost and Access Disparities in Rochester and Monroe County, NY. Report for Public Interest Law Office of Rochester.Google Scholar
  57. Vargas-Ramos, C. (2005, Spring). The State of Housing for Hispanics in the United States (Policy Brief, 2(1) ). New York: Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College (CUNY).Google Scholar
  58. Williams, R. A., Nesiba R., & McConnell, E. D. (2005). The Changing Face of Mortgage Lending. Social Problems, 52(2), 181–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eileen Diaz McConnell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o StudiesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations