Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

The Impact of Homeownership on the Life Satisfaction of African-Americans

The federal government has begun to move homeownership to the center of US housing policy. Economic recovery and minority homeownership programs have increased African-American homeownership to an all-time high in 1999. A primary assertion of homeownership advocates is that the life satisfaction of owner-occupiers is greater than that of renters. However, there is little literature to support this assertion, and little is known about whether homeownership is related to life satisfaction among African-Americans. This study tests that hypothesis and evaluates whether the impact of homeownership on life satisfaction is mediated by housing quality, residential stability, perceived neighborhood safety, and neighborhood social relations. A path analysis indicates that homeownership has direct impacts on the life satisfaction of African- Americans, but that indirect relationships do not exist. Homeownership does, however, have positive impacts on housing quality, residential stability, neighborhood safety and social relations. Implications of these findings for housing policy and research are provided.

Project:  American Dream Policy Demonstration (ADD)


Scanlon, E. (1999). The impact of homeownership on the life satisfaction of African-Americans (CSD Working Paper No. 99-4). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.