The Portfolios and Wealth of Low-Income Homeowners and Renters: Findings from an Evaluation of Self-Help Ventures Fund’s Community Advantage Program


Michael A. Stegman, Allison Freeman, and Jong-Gyu Paik, Center for Community Capitalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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October 12, 2007

The distribution of wealth in the United States is more highly skewed than the distribution of income (Caner and Wolff 2004; Miller-Adams 2003; Oliver and Shapiro 1990, 1995). Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of homeowners and renters. Those who own their homes typically have about 20 to 40 times more net wealth than those who rent (Di 2003, 10).

Although home equity plays a role in this growing disparity, it does not fully explain why renters hold fewer assets than homeowners.