Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Legacy of Redlining on US Cities


The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) was a government-sponsored corporation created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Its purpose was to refinance home mortgages which were in default to prevent foreclosure.

The HOLC is often cited as starting the practice of mortgage redlining. Redlining is the process of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial composition of those areas. Mapping Inequality, Redlining in New Deal America allows you to view the residential security maps created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments.

The areas marked in blue on the maps are the neighborhoods which were deemed desirable for lending purposes. The yellow areas show neighborhoods deemed 'declining' areas. The red areas are the neighborhoods considered the most risky for mortgage support.

The result of these redlining maps was that residents in the more affluent and largely white neighborhoods were far more likely to receive financing. Residents in the poorer and black communities were deemed more of a risk and so less likely to receive financial support.


A new map from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition allows you to explore how the HOLC's redlining maps are affecting cities today. The interactive map allows you to compare modern data about income status and the minority population with the HOLC's historical redlining security ratings.

In this way you can see if neighborhoods in your city with 'good' HOLC redlining ratings have remained largely white and wealthy or whether your city has become a beacon of social and racial equality. You can also use the National Community Reinvestment Coalition map to see where gentrification has occurred in a city. These are the neighborhoods which received the lowest HOLC redlining ratings but now don't have the dots from the 'Low to Moderate Income' layer.
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