Measuring Racial and Socio-Economic Housing Inequity

Bay Area Metro
University of California, Merced



Data Analytics, Data Collection, Equity, Housing, Policy Analysis

Procurement Method:

University Partner:

University of California, Merced

Partnership Description

The Association of Bay Area Governments / Metropolitan Transportation Commission will be working with Jessica Trounstine, Professor of Political Science, and her research team at the University of California, Merced. The team will focus on assessing and cataloging available data in each of the 109 jurisdictions for generating metrics to identify policies that have likely contributed to housing segregation and availability. This research will help tell the story of housing inequity for Bay Area jurisdictions as they revise their Housing Elements for AB-686. It builds off of Professor Trounstine’s previous research detailed in her book, Segregation By Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities.


The Association of Bay Area Governments/ Metropolitan Transportation Commission (ABAG/MTC) is seeking a comprehensive and consistent solution to present and visualize historical racial segregation patterns on a local-level for our 101 local jurisdictions in the Bay Area.


The Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (ABAG/MTC) is charged with assisting the 101 jurisdictions in the Bay Area with updating their Housing Elements (plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for housing development) to align with the Assembly Bill 686 to affirmatively further fair housing.  

As part of these efforts, ABAG/MTC is developing a robust data set that details required demographic, housing, socioeconomic, and opportunity indices to inform fair housing assessments, development, policies, and programs in the housing element.

ABAG/MTC has started work on collecting data across all cities related to: housing, demographics, mobility and transit, finance, health, etc. ABAG/MTC believes this is an opportunity to establish a standard way of looking at racial inequities within housing at the local-city level. 

With the academic team, ABAG/MTC hopes to focus on studying historical land-use policies that created the initial patterns of racial segregation, such as redlining maps and racially restrictive covenants on housing, that lead to long-term exclusion from opportunity and the creation of racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty (R/ECAP). ABAG/MTC also hopes to understand how best to use the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) Opportunity Maps and dissimilarity indices to assess a community’s fair housing issues. In initial efforts, ABAG/MTC has identified these potential issues:

  • The availability of consistent data across all 101 cities in the Bay Area
  • Finding and validating historical data

The academic team will have access to and build on:

  • ABAG/MTC project personnel
  • Collected and cleaned data (e.g. demographic, housing, mobility, health, etc.)
  • Assessments of Impediments to Fair Housing 
  • TCAC/HCD Opportunity Maps
  • PolicyLink’s Equity Atlas
  • Urban Displacement Project data
  • Etc.

Requirements & Outcomes

ABAG/MTC seeks the following outcomes with the research team:  

  • Crafted set of metrics that help explain historical segregation on the local-level
  • Identified and collected data (e.g. on redlining, racial covenants, local policy, disinvestment, health, etc.) for those metrics across 101 cities in Bay Area
  • Insights on activities between 1970-1990 that impact the housing market today
  • Narrative from data that provides a greater understanding of historical racial inequities 
  • Insights that illustrate affordable housing need in areas of opportunity 

The academic team will be plugging in with ABAG/MTC’s team (data experts, consultants, project managers, etc.) on this effort. We look forward to tailoring aspects of the partnership to the academic team’s expertise and research interests. 

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