Separating the Children
John R. Logan
Report by the Lewis Mumford Center, May 4, 2001
Updated December 28, 2001
Material in this report, including charts and tables, may
be reproduced with acknowledgment of the Mumford Center as the source.
Census shows that Americas children are remaining clearly divided into separate
neighborhoods by race and ethnicity. Black, Hispanic, and Asian children are more
segregated from white children than are adults in these groups.
In our report on the population of all ages (http://www.s4.brown.edu/cen2000/WholePop/WPsegdata.htm),
we pointed out that there has been little change in community integration despite growing
ethnic diversity in the nation since 1990. The average white person continues to live in a
neighborhood that looks very different from those neighborhoods where the average black,
Hispanic, and Asian live. This conclusion holds even more strongly among children. The
average white child in metropolitan America lives in an increasingly mixed neighborhood,
seeing a rise in minority population from 17% to 23% in the last ten years. Even so, this
childs experience of diversity is unlike what he will face in adulthood, because
fully 41% of all children in metro America are now black, Hispanic, or Asian. And minority
children live in very different places. The average black child lives in a neighborhood
where more than half of other children are black; Hispanic children typically also live in
places where they are in the majority. Asian children have the greatest exposure to white
children, living on average in places that are nearly 48% white, but this does represent a
decline since 1990 (53%).
Children of all groups are being raised in environments where their own groups size
is inflated, and where they are under-exposed to children of other racial and ethnic
backgrounds. And if their neighborhoods are segregated in this way, so will be their
schools, their clubs, their sports teams, and their friendship networks.
Fortunately there has been a modest decline in segregation in the last decade for black
and Asian children, though segregation of Hispanic children from whites has not changed.
More dramatic is the trend toward lower segregation among the different minority groups,
in particular the drop of more than 10 points in segregation of black children from
Hispanics and Asians.
Click here to
view a list of segregation rankings for 1990 and 2000 for the under-18 population.
This report provides highlights of the evidence that we believe supports these