Less than half of the heads of minority households own their homes in Pennsylvania, compared with almost three-quarters of White households.

That basic building block of economic security has eluded people like Smith.

Whites, Blacks and Latinos all lost ground in homeownership between the 2000 and 2010 census, during the Great Recession and the real-estate bust.

The downturn hit the minorities hardest, though; in 2010, the homeownership gap between White and Black households was the largest over the 50 years of Census figures and the gap between Whites and Latinos was the second highest.

“The lower you go down in economic level, a higher proportion of income goes into the house,” said Larry Davis, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work.

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