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Report: 50 years after Fair Housing Act, inequality is rampant in Atlanta

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In Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, and Oakland, urban disparities persist in healthcare, banking, and general lifestyle, study finds

Beltline green space D.H. Stanton Park can be seen from the future Southside Trail, where rising property values are expected.
Beltline green space D.H. Stanton Park can be seen from the future Southside Trail, where rising property values are expected.
Curbed Atlanta

A demographical analysis of Atlanta and three other major American cities is showing that a stark difference still exists in several key categories between residents on either side of the proverbial tracks.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act—the landmark legislation that aimed to eliminate discrimination in U.S. housing—real estate company Trulia partnered with the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) to shine a light on modern-day housing inequality and why closing the gaps is important.

Analysts found that half a century since the legislation had passed, inequality remains rampant across Atlanta.

Trulia and NFHA honed in on four metros—Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, and Oakland, respectively—in an attempt to spotlight cities with a range of geographies and histories with segregation and fair housing.

In summation, across each metro, the study found that “features like banks, health institutions, full-service grocery stores, and parks are significantly less likely to be located in neighborhoods of color than in white communities,” per the report. “And, equally notably, alternative banking establishments like check-cashing services and payday lenders are significantly more likely to be located in neighborhoods of color.”

According to a Trulia rep, one data point in Atlanta was particularly glaring: majority-white tracts have 25.3 healthcare providers for every 10,000 people, versus just 9.8 in majority-black tracts.

Other highlights (or lowlights) across each city, per the report:

“There are 33.9 percent fewer active or healthy lifestyle amenities such as parks, playground, and recreation centers across the four metros in majority-minority areas than majority-white census tracts;

On average, majority-minority Census tracts across these four metros have roughly 33 percent fewer traditional banking establishments than majority-white tracts.”

Head here for an interactive map of Atlanta and surrounding areas, broken down by Census tract.

All of this is not to say the City of Atlanta hasn’t acted recently to improve equality, specifically when it comes to access to housing for residents not pulling high salaries.

Faced with an intown affordability dilemma, Atlanta in January became the first city in Georgia to adopt inclusionary zoning ordinances.

The rules, which apply to forthcoming residential projects near the Beltline or Mercedes-Benz Stadium, require developers to dedicate a specific portion of units to Atlantans who make between 60 and 80 percent of the area’s median income.

How effective the ordinances will be—and what dampening effect they’ll have on development—remains to be seen.