In response to foreclosure risk during the Great Depression, the US Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) was founded in 1930 to map city-level perceived lending risk for home mortgage refinancing. In these “residential security” maps, black and other minority neighborhoods were often designated as higher risk neighborhoods. As minority homeownership was considered to threaten property values, these maps were used to maintain racial segregation.
Notably, homeowners in class D (“high risk”) areas were systematically denied mortgage bailouts. Residential security maps were effectively used for “redlining” - the widespread illegal practice of denying home loans based on race - and therefore were instrumental as to institutionalize the practice.
Home ownership tends to have long-lasting effects over many generations. This interactive map illustrates the historical socioeconomic development of the neighborhoods categorized by the HOLC in 147 American cities between 1930s and 2016.
This site currently only (really) works in Chrome and on a computer. Safari and Firefox support are on the way!