Census 2000 Shows Residential Segregation of Minorities Remains High
Contact: Vincent Reda, 518-437-4985
Despite America's growing black middle class, newly released data from
the 2000 Census reveal widespread persistence in the residential segregation
of African Americans from whites in metropolitan areas, says University
at Albany demographer John Logan.
"These findings will disappoint those who had hoped that the growth
of the black middle class, enforcement of fair housing laws, and reports
of declining racial prejudice among whites would translate into more
integrated neighborhoods in cities and suburbs," said Logan, a distinguished
professor of sociology and director of UAlbany's Lewis Mumford Center
for Comparative Urban and Regional Research.
A team of researchers from the Mumford Center has analyzed data for
64 metropolitan regions to date, including those in such diverse states
as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Logan observes that black population growth was strongly oriented toward
the suburbs in most of these metropolitan regions. Traditionally this
would be expected to reflect lowered barriers to equal housing opportunity.
But in fact racial segregation declined slightly in the cities but increased
in suburbia, yielding little net change. The average African American
in these areas still lives in a census tract that is 60% black.
Hispanics and Asians, who have historically been less segregated from
whites than have African Americans, also saw no change in levels of
segregation. In fact, there are strong signs that both groups are becoming
more concentrated in their own ethnic neighborhoods and less exposed
to whites. Logan suggests that this trend is largely due to the rapid
growth of these groups through immigration. Though they increasingly
settle directly in the suburbs, their distinctive situation in terms
of language, job skills, and social networks fosters residential enclaves.
One unexpected pattern revealed by the 2000 Census is a reduction in
African Americans' segregation from the new immigrant groups. Researchers
had already noticed a tendency for Hispanics to move into or near to
black urban neighborhoods by 1990, but blacks were often even more segregated
from Asians than from whites at that time. Logan points out that as
all three of these minority groups increasingly share the same neighborhoods,
the new patterns of interaction are likely to include both cooperation
Further evidence of trends in intergroup relations will become available
in the coming week, when the Bureau of the Census will release data
for additional states with large metropolitan centers, including Texas,
Illinois, Ohio, and New York.
[Results, including summaries of overall trends and analyses for
individual metropolitan regions, can be viewed through the Mumford Center's
web site (http://www.albany.edu/mumford/census),
and can be downloaded as Excel spreadsheets. Contact for further information:
John Logan, 518-442-4656. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The following text is the current "national trends" overview on
the Mumford center web site: http://www.albany.edu/mumford/census.
The Census 2000 data confirm the continuation of some powerful trends
from the 1980-1990 decade, and also provide new evidence about residential
segregation at the beginning of this century.
Minority growth and movement toward suburbia
· The Hispanic and Asian minorities continued to grow rapidly, increasing
50-100% in many areas. Their expansion has been widely commented on
in early media reports. The black population also increased, though
at a less rapid rate. Notable is the relative stagnation of the white
population in many regions. For example, while the Philadelphia metropolis
grew by 250,000, its white population actually dropped 100,000.
In Newark and Jersey City, NJ, the Hispanic population
grew by a third to a half, and Asians by about 70%. These groups' rate
of growth rate was substantially higher in other metropolitan areas
in the state. In the other very large metropolitan areas that are fully
reported (these include Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Norfolk-Virginia
Beach-Newport News, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh), both groups grew
by at least 50%. There is one exception. The Hispanic community in New
Orleans, already a little more than 4% of the population in 1990, has
· Minority suburbanization also continued, and suburbs are now more
racially and ethnically diverse - and more like central cities in this
respect - than ever before. Blacks, Asians, and especially Hispanics
shifted their populations from cities to suburbs at a faster rate than
did non-Hispanic whites. Suburban Bergen-Passaic, NJ, is now less than
Again this trend is very visible in New Jersey.
The black population in Newark's suburbs increased by nearly 80,000
(up about a third from 1990), and by 60,000 in Bergen-Passaic (more
than doubling). The Hispanic population expanded by 60-90% in largely
suburban metropolitan areas such as Bergen-Passaic, Monmouth-Ocean,
and Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon. Asians, for their part, grew by as
much as 140% in Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon.
There were comparable rates of minority suburban
growth in New Orleans, Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Philadelphia,
and Pittsburgh, and much higher rates (though starting from very small
initial numbers) in Milwaukee and Indianapolis.
Segregation from whites, mixing among minorities
Urban scholars have been less sure of what to expect in terms of
the residential segregation of these groups. As immigration has swelled
the ranks of Hispanics and Asians, and suburbanization has increasingly
involved minorities of all kinds, some have anticipated a breakdown
of traditional patterns of segregation. A particularly cogent argument
has been that a more multi-hued metropolis would lower the barriers
to residential integration of African Americans.
· In fact, what is most evident from the early releases is the continuing
durability of other groups' segregation from non-Hispanic whites. The
most often used measure of segregation (the Index of Dissimilarity,
indicating what portion of one group would have to move in order to
achieve full integration with another group) is almost unchanged. In
a typical case, the index dropped just one point in Pittsburgh, declining
a little more than that in the city but increasing in the suburbs, where
blacks were moving.
For the fully reported metropolitan areas as
of March 10, the average dissimilarity index value of blacks with whites
(after weighting in order to count more heavily those with larger black
populations) was 69.9 in 1990 and 68.8 in 2000. It declined by 2 points
in the central cities, but rose by 1 point in suburbs, overall. The
average African American in these areas lived in a census tract that
was 61% black and 33% white in 1990, and in a tract that was 59% black
and 32% white in 2000.
· The situation is quite similar for Hispanics and Asians. It appears
that as these two groups grew in size, their own ethnic residential
communities became more concentrated, while their residential exposure
to whites declined markedly. In Allentown, where the Hispanic population
nearly doubled, the white-Hispanic index of segregation rose four points.
In Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, where the Asian population more than
doubled, the white-Asian index rose eleven points.
The average dissimilarity index of Hispanics
with non-Hispanic whites (weighting for the size of the Hispanic population)
increased from 53.3 to 54.4, and for Asians (weighting for the size
of the Asian population) from 43.8 to 44.2 - essentially unchanged.
The average Hispanic person in these areas lived in a census tract that
was 27% Hispanic and 53% white in 1990, increasing to 30% Hispanic and
dropping to 47% white in 2000. The average Asian's tract was 8% Asian
and 75% white in 1990, rising to 13% Asian and falling to 66% white
· Finally, there is a significant shift in the relationship between
African Americans, on the one hand, and both Hispanics and Asians on
the other. Some observers had already noticed in 1990 a tendency for
Hispanic immigrants to settle in or near black neighborhoods, though
it appeared that Asians avoided these locales. By 2000, the early indications
are that blacks have become more residentially integrated with both
of these largely immigrant groups. In Indianapolis, where a traditionally
large African population faces growing new minorities, black segregation
from Hispanics has declined by nine points and from Asians by seven
Weighting by the size of the black population,
the average black-Hispanic dissimilarity index value declined from 62.8
to 55.6, and the black-Asian index from 72.5 to 66.3. These changes
in the range of 6-7 points are considered to be very significant. Further,
there were small increases in the average black person's exposure to
Hispanics and Asians, and conversely in the average Hispanic or Asian's
exposure to blacks.
From these population numbers, of course, we cannot draw any conclusions
about the character of relations among racial and ethnic groups. Does
residential proximity lead to more contacts and better relationships,
or does it generate new tensions? Such questions surely will become
more important to urban researchers in light of the overall population
shifts. Meanwhile, the Lewis Mumford Center invites you to examine more
closely the population and segregation trends in individual metropolitan
For more University at Albany information, visit our World Wide Web
site at http://www.albany.edu.
March 12, 2001
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