Ethnic inequality in home ownership and the value of housing: The case of immigrants in Israel

Noah Lewin-Epstein*, Yuval Elmelech, Moshe Semyonov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article aims to contribute to an understanding of how immigrants are incorporated into the stratification system by focusing on ownership of housing. The hypothesis is that time of immigration and place of residence account for a large portion of the ethnic disparities in wealth in Israel, independent of human capital and success in the labor market. Data from the 1986/87 Household Expenditure Survey were employed in order to estimate the probability of home ownership and the value of housing for three Jewish groups (North African, Asian, and European), who immigrated to Israel during different periods. The findings reveal that (1) time of migration has a monotonic relationship to home ownership; (2) North African immigrants are severely disadvantaged relative to other Jewish groups and this is due, in part, to the fact that they arrived later and were directed to development towns in the periphery; (3) immigrants from Asia and from Europe have similar home ownership rates; but an advantage in favor of European immigrants is evident once time of migration is controlled. The findings are discussed in light of their significance for ethnic socioeconomic inequality and its persistence over generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1462
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1997


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