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Latino Daily News

Wednesday December 29, 2010

New Study Shows Increased Neighborhood Segregation Despite Increased Diversity

According to a report out of Brown University, though there has been an increase in racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S., there is still a segregation among neighborhoods.

Sociologist John Logan of Brown, and Florida State University sociologist Brian Stults saw the continuation of segregation to be “surprising result,” adding that, “At worst, it was expected that there would be continued slow progress [and not a complete halt]. The growth of the black middle class, the passage of time since fair housing legislation was enacted, and the evidence from surveys that white Americans are becoming more tolerant of black neighborhoods all pointed in that direction.”

Stults and Logan analyzed data from the American Community Survey (ACS) which was recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ACS approximates social, economic, housing, and demographic statistics for all communities throughout the nation, but until the recent release of the 2010 Census all previous studies were based off of old data from the 2000 Census.

Logan and Stults’ findings were as follows:

  * The average non-Hispanic white person continues to live in a neighborhood that looks very different from those neighborhoods where the average black, Hispanic, or Asian lives. The average white person in metropolitan America lives in a neighborhood that is 77 percent white. Still, this represents growing diversity compared to 1980, when the average was 88 percent white.

  * The average black American in metropolitan areas lives in a census tract that is majority black. It appears the same will soon be true for Hispanics. On average, 48 percent of their neighbors are Hispanic and this value is growing steadily.
  * Blacks continue to be the most segregated minority, followed by Hispanics and then Asians. Another surprise in the new data is that while black-white and Hispanic-white segregation is almost the same today as in 2000, segregation of Asians from whites has begun to increase. It is now almost as high as segregation of Hispanics.

  * Progress in residential segregation between blacks and whites since 2000 was even less than in the 1980s. Segregation peaked around 1960. Between 1980 and 2000 it declined at a very slow pace, but analysts have been hoping for a breakthrough since then. The new data show that there is very little change.


“To analyze segregation, Logan and Stults used the Index of Dissimilarity, which measures how evenly two groups are spread across neighborhoods. The lowest possible value is zero, which indicates that the percentage of each group in every neighborhood is the same as their overall percentage in the metropolitan areas. The highest value of 100 indicates that the two groups live in completely different neighborhoods,” said Medical Health News Today.

By this measure:

  * Black-white segregation averaged 65.2 in 2000 and 62.7 now.

  * Hispanic-white segregation was 51.6 in 2000 and 50 today.

  * Asian-white segregation has grown from 42.1 to 45.9.


The release of this report marks the start of the US2010 Project, in which 14 research teams across the U.S.—led by Logan—will gain insight into a broad range of topics relating to American society. With research the teams gather, briefs will be released over the text two years on the topics of education, immigration, segregation, aging, economics, and the changing American family. In the end, a book detailing the collected data will be released by the Russell Sage Foundation.