Segregation in the 21st Century

NYU’s Furman Center has posted a research brief, Race and Neighborhoods in the 21st Century. The brief is is based on a longer paper, Race and Neighborhoods in the 21st Century: What Does Segregation Mean Today? (One of the co-authors of the longer paper,¬†Katherine M.¬†O’Regan, is currently Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at HUD.) The brief opens,

In a recent study, NYU Furman Center researchers set out to describe current patterns of residential racial segregation in the United States and analyze their implications for racial and ethnic disparities in neighborhood environments. We show that 21st Century housing segregation patterns are not that different from those of the last century. Although segregation levels between blacks and whites have declined nationwide over the past several decades, they still remain quite high. Meanwhile, Hispanic and Asian segregation levels have remained relatively unchanged. Further, our findings show that the neighborhood environments of blacks and Hispanics remain very different from those of whites and these gaps are amplified in more segregated metropolitan areas. Black and Hispanic households continue to live among more disadvantaged neighbors, to have access to lower performing schools, and to be exposed to more violent crime. (1)

And the brief concludes,

Black and Hispanics continued to live among more disadvantaged neighbors even after controlling for racial differences in poverty, to have access to lower performing schools, and to be exposed to higher levels of violent crime. Further, these differences are amplified in more segregated metropolitan areas. Segregation in the 21st century, in other words, continues to result not only in separate but also in decidedly unequal communities. (5)

This conclusion makes clear that segregation is not merely the result of poverty. It is important to understand how segregation persists even though the legal support of segregation has been dismantled. Richard Brooks and Carol Rose’s work in this area is a good start for those who are interested.