Analysis Group-Supported Study Finds Evidence of Gender Identity Discrimination in the Metro Boston Rental Housing Market
April 5, 2017
A study by researchers at Suffolk University Law School has found evidence of gender identity discrimination in the housing market in the Greater Boston area. The study was conducted using a carefully designed, controlled experiment that would produce results that could be generalized for the purpose of informing future policy. An Analysis Group team including Vice President Shannon Seitz and Senior Analysts Emily Chiu and Tripti Singh provided pro bono support for the study, assisting with designing the protocols and conducting the analysis to ensure statistically valid results.
The Suffolk team found that transgender and gender non-conforming people received discriminatory differential treatment while apartment hunting in Greater Boston, even though Massachusetts law prohibits such discrimination. Specifically, the team found evidence of discrimination in more than 60% of the apartment shopping encounters studied. In addition, transgender and gender non-conforming people were 27% less likely to be shown additional areas of the apartment complex; 21% less likely to be offered a financial incentive to rent; 12% more likely to be told negative comments about the apartment and the neighborhood; and 9% more likely to be quoted a higher rental price than people who were not transgender and conformed to typical gender standards.
The study, “Transcending Prejudice: Gender Identity and Expression-Based Discrimination in the Metro Boston Rental Housing Market,” is authored by Jamie Langowski, William Berman, Regina Holloway, and Cameron McGinn, and is to be published in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism. The research effort is part of Suffolk's Housing Discrimination Testing Program, a HUD-funded program that seeks to eliminate housing discrimination through testing, enforcement, education, outreach, and academic study.