News Release

Discrimination in the housing market is hindering successful integration

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Academy of Finland

Males with an Arabic name face discrimination in the rental housing market in Finland. According to a study conducted at Åbo Akademi University, individuals with an Arabic name - males, in particular - were considerably less likely to receive a response from potential landlords. Only 16% of inquiries signed with a male Arabic name received responses, whereas inquiries with a female Finnish name received responses in 42% of the cases. The study is a part of the research project Intra-Genomic Conflicts and Social Decision-Making in Humans. The project was financed by the Academy of Finland.

In the study, a total of 1,459 inquiries regarding vacant rental apartments across Finland were sent out during 2016. The inquiries were sent via e-mail and signed with different names. The responses were compared in terms of the different study groups: women and men with an Arabic, Finnish or Swedish name. The results showed that males with an Arabic name received fewer responses in comparison to any other group. No other statistical differences between these six groups were found. Overall, men received responses less frequently than women, and inquiries signed with an Arabic name less frequently than those signed with a Finnish or Swedish name. The landlord's gender had no effect on the results.

Previous research has shown that discrimination increases the affected individuals' risk of developing psychological problems, and that ethnic discrimination in the housing market is hindering successful integration. The findings corroborate the importance of the current study.

The study was conducted at Åbo Akademi University by Annamaria Öblom for her Master's thesis in Psychology and published in the international PLOS ONE journal. The study is the first of its kind concerning the private rental housing market in Finland.


The publication is accessible at:

For more information:
Master of Arts in Psychology
Annamaria Öblom
Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology, Åbo Akademi University
Phone: +358 (0)40 963 6618

Jan Antfolk
Postdoctoral researcher in Psychology
Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology, Åbo Akademi University
Phone: +358 (0)45 219 985

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