Dissertation Publications

O’Neil, Meghan M., Vincent Roscigno. 2021. “Racial and Ethnic Inequality in Mortgage Lending.” working paper.

O’Neil, Meghan M. 2019. “Crossing the Color Line in the 21st Century: Mortgaging Increasingly Diverse Neighborhoods.” working paper. link

O’Neil, Meghan M. 2018. “Housing Policy, Race, Inequality, and Disparate Impact.” Phylon-Special Issue in honor of W.E.B. Du Bois & Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. link

O’Neil Kuebler, Meghan M. 2015. “Closing the Wealth Gap: A Review of Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Homeownership,” Pp. 113-120 in Race, Class, & Gender: An Anthology, 9th Ed., edited by Margaret Anderson and Patricia Hill Collins. Boston: Cengage Learning. link

O’Neil Kuebler, Meghan M. 2013. “Closing the Wealth Gap: A Review of Racial and Ethnic Inequalities in Homeownership.” Sociology Compass 7, 670-685. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12056. link

O’Neil Kuebler, Meghan M. 2012. “Lending in the Modern Era: Does Racial Composition of Neighborhoods Matter When Individuals Seek Home Financing? A Pilot Study in New England.” City & Community 11(1):31-50. link

Related publication using IPUMS data:

O’Neil Kuebler, Meghan M., Jacob S. Rugh. 2013. “New Evidence on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Homeownership in the United States from 2001 to 2010.” Social Science Research 42(5) September: 1357-1374. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2013.06.004. link


O’Neil’s dissertation research examined how unequal access to housing and homeownership perpetuates an intergenerational cycle of poverty in American families, especially for families of color and single-mother families. O’Neil reports that mortgage applications made by minority and female applicants, for homes in neighborhoods with many minority neighbors, or for homes in communities with many single-mothers disproportionately resulted in mortgage denial even after controlling for various financial, market-based, and housing characteristics. O’Neil finds that the applicant’s ability to repay the mortgage was only a small part of the decision making process when banks decided whether to approve or reject mortgage applications, so much so, that the presence of single mother neighbors where applicants desired to purchase a home was a more robust predictor of mortgage denial than was the applicant’s income. 

O’Neil considered each and every mortgage application filed and federally reported in the United States over a one-year period before the Great Recession and over a one-year period following the Great Recession. Multilevel regressions then focused on the top 100 metropolitan areas by population covering over 30,000 unique neighborhoods. Results concluded that standard mortgage underwriting practices in the United States may have violated the Civil Rights Laws of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 on several measures resulting in disparate impacts for racial minorities, women, and mothers (family status: a protected class). Observed mortgage lending practices resulting in the undercapitalization of minority and vulnerable neighborhoods as well as the withholding of capital for prospective qualified female home buyers. Such actions can perpetuate institutionalized practices that undermine intergenerational mobility for families of color and vulnerable families, support racial and economic segregation, stagnate the gap between women and men’s wealth in America, and ensure disadvantaged families reside in neighborhoods with lower quality public services such as inferior schools. 

You can learn more about O’Neil’s data and contributions here: One Page Dissertation Abstract