Whose American dream?
The American Dream has evolved just as America has evolved, but today, homeownership has emerged as the primary public policy tool for helping Americans achieve wealth and self-reliance. Nearly two-thirds of the nation's 140 million housing units are owner-occupied, conferring an average net housing wealth to those owners of over $150,000.
This is a statistical way of saying that buying a home is the main way Americans obtain real, tangible wealth. But white Americans today enjoy the equity-building benefits of homeownership at significantly greater rates than nonwhites. In the third quarter of 2020, 46% of Black households owned their own home, compared with 51% of Hispanic households, 61% for Asians and 76% for whites, according to data from the Census Bureau. And that racial gap in homeownership is actually greater today than it was in 1968, when the Fair Housing Act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin.