Times-Union readers want to know:
I heard President Donald Trump say that “black home ownership has hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of the United States. Is that accurate?
No. Not really close.
FactCheck.com checked with the Census Bureau, which has quarterly survey data by race dating to 1994. The black home ownership rate was 42 percent for the third quarter of 2017, the Census Bureau shows, and there have been 86 quarters since 1994 that had higher rates than that
The president raised the issue of black home ownership during a Make America Great Again rally in Pensacola, where he urged neighboring Alabamians to vote for Republican Roy Moore in the Dec. 12 special U.S. Senate election (which Moore lost).
At one point in the Dec. 8 rally, Trump spotted a “blacks for Trump sign.”
FactCheck.org reported Trump as saying: “I love these guys. Look at these guys, ‘blacks for Trump.’ I love you. I love you. By the way, now that you bring it up, black home ownership just hit the highest level it has ever been in the history of our country. Congratulations.”
The audience roared with approval.
FactCheck.org requested evidence from the White House to support the president’s claim, and received no response. But the fact-checking organization checked with the National Association of Realtors for home ownership statistics, and that’s when the association referred FactCheck.org to census data.
The Census Bureau website provides 95 quarters of home ownership data since 1994, FactCheck.org noted. After it sorted the figures, the 42 percent black home ownership rate for the third quarter of 2017 clocked in at 87th, the ninth lowest rate of the 95 quarters.
The highest rate during that nearly 24-year span was 49.7 percent in the second quarter of 2004, FactCheck.org found. The lowest rate was 41.2 percent in the third quarter of 1995.
In fact, the most recent third-quarter rate isn’t even the highest this year, let alone “in the history of our country.” The rate was 42.7 percent in the first quarter and 42.3 percent in the second quarter, so if anything there has been a slight downward trend in 2017, FactCheck.org reported.
The Census Bureau also has decennial census data on home ownership by race dating to 1950. The black home ownership rate was higher in 1980 (44.4 percent) and 1990 (43.4 percent) than in the most recent quarter. It was lower in 1970 (41.6 percent) and 1950 (34.5 percent), FactCheck.org found. There was no rate provided for 1960.
Carole Fader: (904) 359-4635