Joshua Hellyer
Homophobia and the home search: Rental market discrimination against same-sex couples in rural and urban housing markets

Journal of Housing Economics, 2021: 51, issue March 2021, (article no. 101744)
ISSN: 1051-1377

Previous research has found discrimination against same-sex couples in the rental housing market. However, no studies have tested in rural markets, even though anti-LGBT attitudes may be more prevalent there due to conservative social norms and less frequent contact with LGBT people. I study whether the rate of discrimination against same-sex couples differs between rural and urban rental housing markets. I use a matched correspondence test design, sending email inquiries about the availability of rental homes to 445 landlords in 28 markets posing as either a same-sex or opposite-sex couple. Results compare rates of positive response between these groups, suggesting that landlords do not respond at substantially different rates to inquiries from same-sex or opposite-sex couples in rural or urban markets, nor do response rates differ between states with anti-discrimination ordinances and those without.