New Evidence on Redlining by Federal Housing Programs in the 1930s

Price Fishback, Jonathan Rose, Kenneth A. Snowden, Thomas Storrs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We show that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), from its inception in the 1930s, did not insure mortgages in low income urban neighborhoods where the vast majority of urban Black Americans lived. This pattern emerged before the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) drafted its infamous maps. In contrast, the HOLC itself broadly loaned to core urban neighborhoods and to Black homeowners. We conclude that the mechanisms through which the HOLC's maps could have affected the geographic scope of mortgage lending were likely quite limited. The FHA instead evaluated neighborhoods using block-level information developed in the 1930s and other data, rather than on the basis of the HOLC maps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103462
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Federal Housing Administration
  • Home Owners' Loan Corporation
  • Housing finance history
  • Redlining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


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