NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Credit Problems For Nearly Half Of Black Americans

September 21, 1999

A survey sponsored by mortgage lender Freddie Mac -- the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association -- reveals that about 48 percent of African-Americans have delinquent liens, a bankruptcy filing or a history of late payments. By comparison, the figure is 27 percent for whites.

While bad credit ratings decrease for whites as they move up the economic ladder, they remain relatively stable for blacks as they advance, the survey found.

  • Among those earning less than $25,000 a year, 31 percent of whites had bad credit versus 48 percent of blacks.
  • In the $25,000 to $44,999 income range, 31 percent of whites experienced credit problems, compared to 50 percent of blacks.
  • Twenty-two percent of white earners making $45,000 to $64,999 a year had bad credit versus 48 percent of African-Americans.
  • Among those with incomes in the $65,000 to $75,000 range, 20 percent of whites were in trouble with their credit, compared to 35 percent of blacks.

Maurice Taylor, provost at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C., noted that fewer African-Americans own property and invest in the stock market than whites, and job-loss is higher among blacks than whites.

Only 46 percent of African-Americans own their own homes, compared to 72 percent of whites.

Source: Sandra Block, "Credit Problems Plague Blacks," USA Today, September 21, 1999.


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