This pilot study adapted a well-established paired-testing methodology to examine discrimination against families with children in the rental housing market, developed preliminary estimates of this form of discrimination, and explored what family or housing characteristics might affect it. Data were collected via telephone and in-person paired tests in three metropolitan sites: Dallas, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Los Angeles, California. The pilot study relied on a multifactor design using data from 612 matched pairs of rental applicants. Key findings are that homeseekers with or without children are equally likely to get an appointment with a rental agent and learn about at least one available housing unit. Compared with their childless counterparts, prospective renters with children were shown slightly fewer units and were told about units that were slightly larger, and, as a result, were slightly more expensive to rent. Other outcomes did not vary by the presence of a child. Differential treatment was greater in tests targeting one-bedroom units (versus larger units) and tests involving two-child families (versus one-child families). Other factors, including race/ethnicity and marital status of the tester and ages and sexes of the children, did not appear to affect systematically how families with children were treated in the rental housing market. (Author abstract)
Discrimination against families with children in rental housing markets: Findings of the pilot study
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