Discrimination In Five Digits

Mar 13 2013 @ 7:36am

Anna Clarke surveys the history of zip codes:

In the modern-day insurance industry, it is illegal to redline by race and ethnicity—that is, to charge higher premiums to certain groups—but it is perfectly permissible to redline by ZIP code. (California is the one exception.) And wouldn’t you know it? Price-gouging rates tend to target ZIP codes with a disproportionate number of racial and ethnic minorities. …

Staples, the office retailer, was among those exposed for offering better deals to customers in affluent ZIP codes. Residents of Hyde Park, Massachusetts won their battle this year to have USPS change their ZIP code: They were weary of the high insurance rates and low property values they faced because they shared a ZIP code with neighboring Mattapan, where poverty and crime are rife.