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The Urban Institute and Sloan Foundation’s Administrative Data Research Facility has observed a “considerable gap” in the nation’s home ownership rates at the zip code level between neighborhoods with high levels of limited English proficient (LEP) residents and neighborhoods with low levels of LEP residents.

Neighborhoods with the lowest LEP resident concentration had a median home ownership rate of 74% in 2017, while neighborhoods with the highest LEP resident concentration had a 64% median home ownership rate.

Hispanic and black households have lower home ownership rates than non-Hispanic white households, at 46% and 41% versus 71%. Spanish speakers compose 62% of the LEP population, according to the Urban Institute, and 42% of the nation’s Spanish speakers do not speak English “very well.”

We are not sure why and how limited English proficiency interferes with homeownership, but this research establishes that it is a barrier on top of other, more researched barriers. This finding suggests that we might expand homeownership by better serving the LEP community.

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