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The Housing Conditions of Immigrants in New York City

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Publication Date: June 1998

Publisher(s): Furman Center for Real Estate

Author(s): Michael Schill; Samantha Friedman; Emily Rosenbaum

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Social conditions (Housing)

Keywords: Immigrants; Community and Economic Development

Type: Article

Abstract:

The influx of immigrants to New York City increases the demand for housing. Because the city has one of the nation’s tightest and most complicated housing markets, immigrants may disproportionately occupy the lowest-quality housing. This article examines homeownership, affordability, crowding, and housing quality among foreign- and native-born households. Overall, foreign-born households are more likely to be renters and encounter affordability problems. Multivariate analyses reveal that foreign-born renters are more likely to live in overcrowded and unsound housing but less likely to live in badly maintained dwellings. However, compared with nativeborn white renters, immigrants—especially Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Caribbeans, Africans, and Latin Americans—are more likely to live in badly maintained units. Because this disadvantage is shared by native-born blacks and Hispanics, it strongly suggests that race and ethnicity are more significant than immigrant status per se in determining housing conditions.