Photo: Study Reveals Affluent Minorities Live in Lower-Income White Neighborhoods
A study released by Brown University entitled, “Separate and Unequal: The Neighborhood Gap for Blacks, Hispanics and Asians in Metropolitan America,” explored the fact that on average, black and Hispanic households live in neighborhoods with more than one and a half times the poverty rate of neighborhoods where the average non-Hispanic white lives.
The report by John Logan, a sociology professor at Brown University, studied the 2010 census data and examined “how people’s race/ethnicity and income are translated into racial/ethnic and class segregation across neighborhoods” with information taken from all metropolitan regions in the country.
The following is some of the study’s results:
• Black household incomes are below 60 percent of non-Hispanic white incomes in the average metropolitan region, while Hispanic household incomes are less than 70 percent. These groups’ relative standing actually became worse between 1990 and 2000 and in the post-2000 years covered by this study. Asians, in contrast, had higher average incomes than non-Hispanic whites in 1990 and they have maintained this advantage over time.
• As black-white segregation has slowly declined since 1990, blacks have become less isolated from Hispanics and Asians, but their exposure to whites has hardly changed. Affluent blacks have only marginally higher contact with whites than do poor blacks.
• Asians and especially Hispanics have become more isolated from whites as their numbers have grown, and they both have markedly lower exposure to whites now than they did in 1990. Income is moderately associated with these patterns for Hispanics (that is, affluent Hispanics experience lower isolation and higher contact with whites). Asians’ level of concentration in Asian neighborhoods, however, is unrelated to income, and exposure to whites is only modestly greater for higher-income Asians.
• With only one exception (the most affluent Asians), minorities at every income level live in poorer neighborhoods than do whites with comparable incomes. Disparities are greatest for the lowest income minorities, and they are much sharper for blacks and Hispanics than for Asians. Affluent blacks and Hispanics live in poorer neighborhoods than whites with working class incomes. There is considerable variation in these patterns across metropolitan regions. But in the 50 metros with the largest black populations, there is none where average black exposure to neighborhood poverty is less than 20 percent higher than that of whites, and only two metros where affluent blacks live in neighborhoods that are less poor than those of the average white.
• The disparity between black and white neighborhood poverty in a metropolitan area is hardly related to blacks’ average income levels. But racial segregation is a very strong predictor of unequal neighborhoods. Patterns are similar but not as strong for Hispanics. Among Asians, however, parity with whites in neighborhood quality is more closely tied with their own income level.