Lower levels of segregation in many cities according to the American Community Survey

Residential segregation, primarily between whites and blacks, is a critical issue when considering the historical development and current state of American development patterns and way of life. But new findings from the most recent American Community Survey (the Census Bureau’s yearly survey) suggest that segregation levels have decreased in many cities:

Atlanta is one of several predominantly Southern and Western cities that showed a noticeable integration trend over the last five years as both middle-class blacks and whites moved into each other’s neighborhoods, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey of 10 million Americans, released Tuesday…

Seventy-five percent of the largest 100 US metro areas showed neighborhood segregation rates slipping to levels not seen for more than a century…

Ethnic integration failed to show the same kind of gains…

It isn’t that the North, which has lagged behind the South and West in integration rates, has dramatically different attitudes on race. Rather, new housing and job opportunities in the South and West have helped to spur integration there.

This is interesting, and potentially uplifting, news. A number of sociologists have called attention to this issue in recent decades, perhaps most notably in American Apartheid published in the early 1990s. Recent maps show that many cities have a highly visible divide between different population groups. With these recent findings, the question may now be: how much more integration might we see in American cities? Is this a short-term trend or is this indicative of a slow, steady rise of integration in American cities?

What I would like to see is a more specific breakdown of what cities improved on integration and which did not. The article suggests that cities in the South and West had increasing rates of integration while segregation decreased less in the North. This is a reminder that in American cities, segregation has been more prominent in northern cities, what scholars (according to the article) call “the ghetto belt.” Are there lessons from the cities that improved in integration that can be exported to other cities?

Additionally, how have segregation/integration rates changed in suburbs or perhaps in whole metropolitan regions?

2 thoughts on “Lower levels of segregation in many cities according to the American Community Survey

  1. Pingback: Not so fast on integrated American neighborhoods | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: Responding to “white suburbanites are exposed to more racial diversity than ever before” | Legally Sociable

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