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Ethnic Diversity Grows,
|This analysis of trends in residential segregation, 1980-2000, was compiled by a team of researchers at the Lewis Mumford Center, University at Albany. The team is led by Center Director John Logan, and includes graduate students enrolled in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Geography and Planning.|
Neighborhood integration has remained a goal of public policy and popular
opinion because it is seen as proof of the American ideal of equal opportunity.
Unfortunately the 2000 Census shows that growing ethnic diversity in the nation is
accompanied by a high degree of residential separation. The average non-Hispanic white
person continues to live in a neighborhood that looks very different from those
neighborhoods where the average black, Hispanic, and Asian live. The average white person
in metropolitan American lives in a neighborhood that is 80% white and only 7% black.
Despite a substantial shift of minorities from cities to suburbs, these groups have not
gained access to largely white neighborhoods. A typical black individual lives in a
neighborhood that is only 33% white and as much as 51% black. Diversity is experienced
very differently in the daily lives of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians.
Residential segregation among blacks and whites remains high in cities and in suburbs around the country. There were some signs of progress in the 1980s, with a five-point drop in the segregation index (from 73.8 to 68.8). The change continued at a slower rate in the 1990s (a decline of just under 4 points). The good news is that these small changes are cumulating over time. The source of concern is that at this pace it may take forty more years for black-white segregation to come down even to the current level of Hispanic-white segregation.
Hispanics and Asians are considerably less segregated than African Americans. But as their numbers grew rapidly in the last twenty years, there has been no change in their level of segregation. As a result these groups now live in more isolated settings than they did in 1980, with a smaller proportion of white residents in their neighborhoods. This trend is the same in both cities and suburbs.
This report provides highlights of the evidence that we believe supports this conclusion.
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