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See redlining maps from Iowa cities

How to read a redlining map: A and B designations described neighborhoods with the lowest lending risk. These were predominantely white neighborhoods with higher property value. C and D neighborhoods represented a higher lending risk, and these areas were generally where Black or other minority populations lived. These maps were created by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), a federal program intended to rescue homeowners from foreclosure during the Great Depression.

You can download or view similar HOLC maps from about 200 cities across the country at

What do the different colors mean?



lowest risk

best property values

white population



low risk

buffer zones

white population



high risk

decreased investment

mixed population



highest risk

no investment

mixed population

It was more than just a map

Text descriptions known as "area descriptions" accompanied and explained the maps, often using racially loaded descriptions such as “infiltration of hazardous populations” or “invasion of hazardous groups” to describe neighborhoods.

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