essential needs
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What does this measure?

The ratio of the median home value divided by the median household income, adjusted for inflation, and shown for homeowners in various racial and ethnic groups.

Why is this important?

This ratio provides a rough estimate of the affordability of homes in a community. A ratio less than 2 or 3 is considered affordable. High housing costs can force households to choose between paying for housing and meeting other basic needs such as food, clothing and health care.

How is Norfolk County doing?

In 2017-21, Norfolk County homes were most unaffordable for Hispanic and Asian homeowners, with ratios of 4.5 and 4.4 respectively, followed by African Americans (4.2) and whites (4.0). These ratios were generally lower (more affordable) than state ratios, particularly for Hispanics, but generally higher (less affordable) than national ratios.

Among comparison counties, Norfolk generally had the lowest ratios for all groups, particularly for Hispanic households - 4.5 in Norfolk compared to Essex (6.3) and Middlesex (6.2). Norfolk's ratios for Asian and white households were similar to Middlesex.

Why do these disparities exist?

Historic and current policies and systems, from racist housing policies to employment discrimination to education systems that fail to equitably serve all populations, have prevented people of color from fully participating in our economy, locking them out of economic opportunity. This has resulted in lower incomes for people of color, which means housing costs are a greater burden.

Notes about the data

Multi-year data are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, Public Use Microdata Sample. The American Community Survey combines five years of responses to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census.

snapshot
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Norfolk County4.44.24.54.0
Essex County3.55.36.34.4
Middlesex County4.55.46.24.1
Massachusetts4.65.46.04.0

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Ratio of median home value divided by the median household income, adjusted for inflation. A ratio less than 2 or 3 is considered affordable. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity.




Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Norfolk County$624,567$374,654$457,926$574,295
Essex County$427,633$389,738$367,482$475,280
Middlesex County$558,843$464,048$495,504$515,589
Massachusetts$540,252$406,431$379,243$438,772

Source: U.S. Census Bureau






INDICATORS TREND
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Population by Age 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
Voter Registration -1
Decreasing
Voter Participation 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Total Jobs 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Living Wage 10 Not Applicable*
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty by Age -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Seniors Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Median Home Value 0
Maintaining
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership 1
Increasing
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Renting 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP 1
Increasing
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Food Insecurity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Without Vehicles 1
Increasing
Means of Transportation to Work by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Percent of Days with Good Air Quality 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 10 Not Applicable*
People 65 or Older Living Alone 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*



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