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Author Topic: Segregation in US drops to lowest in century.  (Read 499 times)

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Offline NoelleTopic starter

Segregation in US drops to lowest in century.
« on: December 14, 2010, 09:16:52 PM »
Original article

Naturally, this is good news and shows widespread progress even if some places are still lagging and even falling behind; bridging the ever-present socioeconomic gap between races has been an ongoing battle for a very long time, one that is without one catch-all cure. The numbers themselves don't seem like huge leaps, but do show a possible upward trend for the future. Here are the key ones the article provides:

Quote
Milwaukee, Detroit and New York were among the most segregated between blacks and whites, all part of areas in the Northeast and Midwest known by some demographers as the "ghetto belt." On the other end of the scale, cities that were least likely to be segregated included Las Vegas, Honolulu, Raleigh, N.C., and Albuquerque, N.M.

Hispanic integration was mixed. There was less Hispanic-white segregation in many large metros such as Seattle, Jacksonville, Fla., and Las Vegas, according to census data. But in many smaller neighborhoods of places such as Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago, large numbers of more recently arrived Hispanic immigrants who often speak Spanish at home were clustering together for social support.

The findings on segregation are based on a pair of demographic measures that track the degree to which racial groups are evenly spread between neighborhoods. Both measures showed declines in black-white segregation from 2000 to the lowest in generations.

For instance, the average white person now lives in a neighborhood that is 79 percent white, compared to 81 percent in 2000. The average black person lives in a 46 percent black neighborhood, down from 49 percent. For Hispanics, however, their average neighborhood last year was 45 percent Hispanic, up slightly from 44 percent.

The Hispanic figures especially strike me as unsurprising; when you have an influx of immigrants, they will likely tend to flock together both due to their tendency to be poorer (and thus relegated to low-income neighborhoods) as well as slower to assimilate than their children, their children's children, etc. By and large, they're still at a disadvantage in terms of income due to the jobs they typically take on as well as the language barrier.

In terms of black segregation, however, it makes me wonder what factors have contributed to the seeming trend in more mixed neighborhoods and more black families moving into higher-income neighborhoods -- certainly it shows an upward trend in some families' socioeconomic status. I think as older generations of racism grow more and more obsolete and eventually die off, the various programs put into place to assist low-income minorities should eventually show noticeably more progress, as well as a hopeful shift in attainability of and attitude towards education, especially.

I do think the article overstates the total significance of this on a widespread scale, but the Hispanic statistics do point towards what has been happening all along, and that is a growing community of Hispanics that can shape the politics of their area. I think politicians would do well to pay more attention, especially because they're not about to go away, and minority groups are at much more risk for poverty than others.

Offline kylie

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Re: Segregation in US drops to lowest in century.
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 03:00:04 PM »
Quote from: Yahoo article/AP
The findings on segregation are based on a pair of demographic measures that track the degree to which racial groups are evenly spread between neighborhoods. Both measures showed declines in black-white segregation from 2000 to the lowest in generations.

For instance, the average white person now lives in a neighborhood that is 79 percent white, compared to 81 percent in 2000. The average black person lives in a 46 percent black neighborhood, down from 49 percent. For Hispanics, however, their average neighborhood last year was 45 percent Hispanic, up slightly from 44 percent.
            Yeah, I don't see yet that those are very big changes in terms of the sheer numbers.  A couple percent here or there in the absolute degree of segregration -- but still pretty segregated?  In addition, reducing the percent of one group does not show that the difference has been occupied by say, Whites as opposed to Hispanics or Asians.  The article is hinting that there is actually more Black-White integration in places.  I haven't found their numbers or method to support that precisely.

Quote
America's neighborhoods took large strides toward racial integration in the last decade as blacks and whites chose to live near each other at the highest levels in a century.
          I would like to see more evidence that this is largely a matter of "choice" as opposed to necessity.  That sounds iffy, at best.  We're also on the end of a string of a couple decades when most of the low-income housing projects in American cities have been taken away.  Government has generally pushed to have Black communities dispersed into various "mixed" neighborhoods on the theory that placing individual Black families closer to middle-income White families (often either along the suburban rings or by new niche business complexes) would undo a so-called "culture of poverty" -- or various other nasty words for supposed Black "cultural" abnormality. 

        On the whole, the relocations have generally meant that Blacks lose access to alternative sources of income and support in their communities, and they tend to be located farther from jobs and with patchier public transportation.  Ongoing studies in Atlanta seem to suggest that some Black families enjoy the relative quiet of their new locations ("no shooting"), particularly those with young children.  However, many are still bound to whatever location they are in based on a voucher system.  Not a few of those locations were suggested by the Housing Authority to begin with, with pressure of tight deadlines to relocate.  The rentals they have post-relocation are generally more expensive than where they were.  The current locations are not necessarily watched to the same extent for how they treat the lower-income residents.

        Lower levels of segregation also don't mean that many Blacks have actually made it to high income neighborhoods in any absolute sense.  Government policies have built up infrastructure and housing in suburbs as opposed to city centers.  They just have not generally offered good public transportation to link the suburbs efficiently with jobs in the center.  Among the suburbs, there are often rings:  lower-income Blacks at one level, followed by Blacks with just slightly higher income (a few managing lower middle-class), mixing with Hispanic and then more White.  What does "neighborhood" really mean when so many of these areas are divided among rental units and where many people don't even know their neighbors' names?  I don't know.

Quote
The latest figures reflect new generations of middle-class blacks moving to prosperous, fast-growing cities, said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution who reviewed the census data.
          This sounds nice, but I'd ask what percentage of Blacks qualify as middle class and where among "middle" those families tend to fall (while noting that the middle class on the whole, has been sapped pretty well by central policy).

   
« Last Edit: December 15, 2010, 03:03:36 PM by kylie »