Redlining's Legacy

his 1940 map created by the federal Home Owners’ Loan Corp. divided up greater Cleveland based on desirability for lending purposes. Areas in green were the most desirable, those in blue were still desirable, neighborhoods in yellow were considered declining and those in red were deemed the most risky for lenders.

Crime and poverty higher in Cleveland neighborhoods that faced lending restrictions decades ago

Cleveland has struggled for decades with poverty and other vexing social problems.

Now, a team of Case Western Reserve researchers is examining whether the cause can be traced to bank redlining that began in the 1930s.

By looking at historical and contemporary maps, researchers realized that neighborhoods struggling today with poverty, crime and health issues are areas where, nearly 90 years ago, banks denied housing loans to black Americans and other minorities— an action that made homebuying more difficult and discouraged investments in infrastructure, businesses and education.

"We were stunned" looking at the maps involving redlining and the locations of certain sexual assaults and elevated lead levels in children, said Misty Luminais, PhD, a senior research associate with the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, who is working with fellow senior researcher Rachel Lovell, PhD, on the project. "The similarities between the maps are striking, to the point that, without labels, it can be hard to determine which one is which."

Read the Full Story from Case Western Reserve University's Think Magazine