Are U.S. Cities Effectively Desegregated?

Sam Roberts reports on a new study of census results that found the nation’s cities are more racially integrated than at any time since 1910.

The study, published by Edward Glaeser and Jacob L. Vigdor at the Manhattan Institute, finds that suburbanization by African Americans was one of the largest factors in curtailing residential segregation in metropolitan America. Roberts writes that the report concludes that, "all-white enclaves "are effectively extinct" and that while black urban ghettos still exist they are shriveling."

For all of the progress noted by the report, however, caveats and notes of caution were sounded by the author's colleagues, and the authors themselves. "'Residential segregation has declined pervasively, as ghettos depopulate and the nation's population center shifts toward the less segregated Sunbelt,' Glaeser and Vigdor [indicated]. 'At the same time, there has been only limited progress in closing achievement and employment gaps between blacks and whites.'"

Full Story: Segregation Curtailed in U.S. Cities, Study Finds



But now there's a whole new segregation, by class

The U.S. has "bifurcated into different social tribes, with a tenuous common culture linking them." According to Charles Murray's new book, Coming Apart. The New York Times had a great review yesterday:

And a major reason behind that separation is zoning that carefully segregates us by income. Reminds me of Scott Doyon's blog on that subject:


Michael Lewyn's picture

Hey, what about the middle 50 percent?

Writing about the top 20 percent and the bottom 30 percent seems to leave a pretty big hole in the middle!

Re Hazel's post: I wonder how segregated we really are. On the one hand, there are suburbs as exclusive as Gates Mills, Ohio that really are for the top 1 percent. On the other, there are suburbs that are much more integrated.

For example, when I lived in Mandarin (a suburban area within the city limits of Jacksonville) the neighborhood changed radically every few blocks. There were rich areas near the waterfront (top 20%), then upper/middle-middle class areas a couple of blocks away, then apartment complexes near the main streets of the area (some of which were squarely in the middle/lower-middle, others of which included the bottom 30 percent), then lower-middle class areas just west and south of the main street- all within walking distance of each other (or at least they WOULD have been within walking distance had the main streets been more walkable!)

Its not clear to me that Gates Mills is more typical than Mandarin.

The 20% and the 30%

Re: David Brooks' article. The upper 20% and lowest 30% obviously represent the extremes, and the other 50% are somewhere in between. I think it makes sense to write about the extremes in order to show how much American society has changed in the last 50 years: in 1960, the behavior of the two extremes was very similar, but now the lowest 30% has more unemployment among adult males, more out-of-wedlock birth, etc. I think David Brooks is right to make this point.

But I think Brooks is very wrong to deny that these problems are, in part, the result of increased inequality. 50 years ago, working class men could earn a decent income and support a family, which gives them an incentive to get a job and get married. Today that option is less available because of increased inequality. see

Brooks and other Republicans seem to believe that we should lower taxes on the very rich to give them an incentive to work and invest. But they don't see that, by the same reasoning, we need to offer a living wage to the poor to give them an incentive to get a job and the ability to support a family.

Charles Siegel

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