Date of this Version
Nearly 5.3 million US heads of household have limited or no ability to speak English. The connections between race or ethnicity and homeownership have been documented, but there has been little work to explain the relationship between the ability to speak English and homeownership. As homeownership is a primary tool for wealth building and financial stability, it is useful to understand the challenges this population faces in accessing homeownership.
This brief first defines and identifies the limited English proficient (LEP) population in the United States. Using descriptive analysis and regression models, we find that at the zip code level, higher rates of limited English proficiency are associated with lower homeownership rates. If we control for other factors that influence homeownership (e.g., income, age, and race or ethnicity), zip codes with the highest concentrations of LEP residents have homeownership rates 5 percentage points lower than zip codes with the median concentration of LEP residents. In other words, limited English proficiency is a barrier to homeownership.
Date Posted: 05 December 2018
This document has been peer reviewed.