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How High Utility Bills Impact People of Color

Energy
How High Utility Bills Impact People of Color
Apartment blocks of a public housing project pictured in Harlem, New York City. Terraxplorer / iStock / Getty Images

Residents of ethnic minority neighborhoods are paying more for utilities than people living in majority-white neighborhoods, regardless of socioeconomic status, new research shows.


A recent study published in the Journal of the American Planning Association looks at energy consumption data across 13,000 apartment buildings in Boston, Cambridge, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, DC, finding that residents of primarily ethnic minority neighborhoods making less than 50 percent of area median income are more likely to live in inefficient homes with higher utility prices, resulting in them bearing a 27 percent higher energy cost burden than white city dwellers of the same income bracket.

"Regardless of income, if that disparity exists, then if nothing else, it's just a consistent statement of the fact that it's race," coauthor Vincent J. Reina told CityLab.

For a deeper dive:

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