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.

What do the different colors mean?

A

Best

lowest risk

best property values

white population

B

Good

low risk

buffer zones

white population

C

Declining

high risk

decreased investment

mixed population

D

Hazardous

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. These documents then helped direct where home loans would be available.