Home Owner Loan Corporation (HOLC) neighborhood grades for US census tracts

The datasets published here include neighborhood grades by the Home Owner Loan Corporation (HOLC) mapped to 2010 and 2020 U.S. census tracts. In the 1930s, HOLC created maps of U.S. cities that were meant to quantify variation in real estate credit risk. Created as part of a New Deal program to assist struggling homeowners, HOLC tasked local officials with creating neighborhood maps that captured credit default risk across neighborhoods. In this process, officials assigned neighborhoods to one of four color-coded letter grades: D = “hazardous,” C = “definitely declining,” B = “still desirable,” and A = “best.” “A” ratings were often assigned to affluent White neighborhoods, while “D” ratings were often assigned to neighborhoods that had a greater share of Black, lower class or immigrant residents. Linking 1930’s HOLC-rated areas to present-day census tracts is complicated by the fact that present-day census tracts often overlap with multiple HOLC-rated neighborhoods that were assigned different letter grades. We found that 60% of 2010 census tracts intersect with multiple HOLC areas that have two, three, or four different grades. The datasets available here contain for each census tract the proportion of non-water area that is covered by A, B, C and D HOLC-rated areas. It also includes census tract classifications that reduce multiple grades into parsimonious and predictively optimal classifications, e.g., “Mainly A” or “Mainly B, some A”. This blogpost provides an overview of these classifications and how they were derived. A more detailed description and empirical evaluation is available in our journal article Connecting past to present: Examining different approaches to linking historical redlining to present-day health inequities. For more information on HOLC redlining, see the Mapping Inequality – Redlining in New Deal America project at the University of Richmond.

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Suggested citation: diversitydatakids.org. 2023. “Home Owner Loan Corporation (HOLC) neighborhood grades for US census tracts”, retrieved from https://data.diversitydatakids.org/dataset/holc_census_tracts-home-owner-loan-corporation--holc--neighborhood-grades-for-us-census-tracts?_external=True on Mar 04 2024, based on HOLC maps digitized by the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond

Additional Info

Last Updated February 15, 2023
Year(s) Data available for 2010 & 2020 census tracts.

HOLC rated polygons and their associated letter grades were downloaded as a shapefile (Source URL) from the Mapping Inequality – Redlining in New Deal America project. The source shapefile is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Other sources include 2010 and 2020 TIGER/Line census tract and 2011 and 2020 area water shapefiles published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Version 1.0