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In diverse metro Atlanta, why are less than a quarter of homes black-owned?

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Only six U.S. cities have lower percentages of black homeowners, analysis finds

Midtown skyline at night, Atlanta
Atlanta’s a growing beacon of opportunity—with rampant income inequality issues.
Curbed Atlanta

While many Atlantans consider the city a “Black Mecca,” a new report on African-American homeownership seems to paint a different picture.

According to recently published research by LendingTree, metro Atlanta ranks seventh in the nation among cities with the lowest percentage of black homeowners.

More than a third of metro Atlanta’s 5.7 million population is black—33.1 percent, to be exact—but less than 25 percent of the owner-occupied housing stock is owned by black people, according to the study.

That means, of the roughly 1.28 million owner-occupied housing units in the region, African-Americans own only a little more than 318,000.

The only metro cities with lower percentages of black homeowners were Detroit, Virginia Beach, Baltimore, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and Memphis, respectively.

Memphis, which had the lowest proportion of African-American homeownership, has a population that’s almost 47 percent black. Less than 35 percent of the owner-occupied homes there are owned by black people, the study found.

When grappling with how Atlanta—a majorly diverse metropolis often billed as “The city too busy to hate”—could rank so dismally low, it’s important to remember the city’s unparalleled income inequality issues.

In recent years, Atlanta has been dubiously coined the U.S. capital of income inequality, according to Bloomberg.

The median household income for black families in Atlanta is $47,202, according to LendingTree’s research.

According to Data USA, the median household income for the entire Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metro area is $65,381. That’s no small gap.

None of the 50 U.S. cities LendingTree studied had a reasonably proportionate percentage of black homeownership.

The city closest to achieving that status was pricey San Jose, which has a 2.3-percent black population, and where 1.5 percent of the owner-occupied units belong to black people.