Is Inclusionary Zoning Inclusionary
Racial housing discrimination in the United States has created systemic segregation which precludes black Americans from living in the well-resourced suburbs of their white counterparts. Certain housing policies such as inclusionary zoning (IZ), a policy that offers real estate developers incentives in exchange for the creation of affordable housing, seek to counteract these injustices. Research on inclusionary zoning thus far has proven the policy’s effectiveness in providing low-income groups access to high-performing schools in low-poverty neighborhoods, increasing children’s academic and long-term economic outcomes. However, sparse research exists which examines if inclusionary zoning provides access to low-poverty settings specifically for black Americans, a goal that should be a priority for housing policies intended to make communities inclusive. Using data on inclusionary zoning policies from the Lincoln Institute and IPUMS NHGIS decennial census data, this study employs a difference in difference regression to analyze the changes in racial and socioeconomic composition of 420 jurisdictions across the United States as a result of their implementation of an IZ policy. This paper finds that while the effects on a jurisdiction’s socioeconomic makeup are minimal, the implementation of an inclusionary zoning policy does significantly increase the percentage of black residents. When controlling for policy characteristics (i.e. whether a policy is mandatory, and what range of income it serves), IZ policies can increase the percentage of black residents by more than 0.8% over 10 years. However, this study also finds that when IZ policies are implemented voluntarily, without regard to the income range served or the location of the affordable units, the policies can have an adverse effect on the black population.