The American Dream is not for African Americans in Nashville

Owning a home is a key component of the “American Dream,” as well as a primary driver of wealth creation for many Americans. However, the fruits of homeownership are not shared equally across demographic groups. In a new report published by Apartment List found that white households have a significant advantage in achieving homeownership, and that this advantage persists regardless of education or income. We analyzed Census data from 1980 to 2015, looking at trends in owner and renter populations nationwide, broken down by race, education and income.


The homeowership rate in Nashville is 68.1% for white households, compared to 33.7% for black households, 39.7% for Hispanic households, and 62.5% for Asian households.

Nashville’s 22.5% average gap in homeowership rates across races is the #24 largest gap of the nation’s 50 biggest metros. This gap narrowed by 7.2% from 2000 to 2015; at the national level, the average gap narrowed by 2.2%.

Nashville is the #11 least diverse metro of that nation’s 50 largest metros. Prime working age households in Nashville are 73.9% white, 15.5% black, 6.2% Hispanic, 2.4% Asian, and 2.0% other.

Nationally, homeownership rates for minorities with college degrees are lower than those for whites with only a high school diploma. Gaps in homeownership rates by race tend to be worst in metros in the Northeast and Midwest, with smaller gaps found in metros across the South and on both coasts, particularly in California, Texas, and Florida. Overall gaps have been narrowing over time, but gaps for black households have grown worse. We find that more diverse metros tend to have smaller gaps in homeowership rates, but that many of these metros have low overall rates of ownership.