Examining the Surprising Segregation of New York City

The common perception of New York City is as of a well-integrated city, full of multi-ethnic neighborhoods. But a recent article peeks behind the curtain of the city’s surprising boundaries of racial segregation.
April 15, 2014, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Daniel Kay Hertz provides perhaps surprising findings about the segregation of New York City along racial lines—and how those conditions compare to the segregation in Chicago.

First, Hertz acknowledges the misconceptions of the depth and breadth of segregation in New York City: “virtually every attempt to actually measure racial segregation suggests that New York is one of the most segregated cities in the country,” writes Hertz. But, “[why] is this so surprising? One obvious reason… is that most people’s conception of New York is limited to about 1/2 of Manhattan and maybe 1/6 of Brooklyn, areas that are among the largest job and tourist centers in the world.” 

Another reason for the misconception, according to Hertz is the unique qualities of segregation in New York City. “Segregation in New York doesn’t look like segregation in Chicago, or a lot of smaller Rust Belt cities. For one, there just aren’t very many monolithically black neighborhoods left in New York.” In New York, according to Hertz’s analysis, “white folks in New York have still on the whole declined to move to black areas, except for some nibbling along the edges in Harlem and central Brooklyn,” and moreover, “the median black New Yorker lives in a neighborhood with very few white people, and vice versa.”

Hertz’s analysis also includes a very helpful graphic visualization of the city’s segregation, synthesized and animated into .gif form. 

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Published on Monday, April 14, 2014 in City Notes
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