Michigan State Study Finds Blacks Pay More Than Whites For Basic Services

A study by researchers at Michigan State University finds that Blacks and other racial minorities tend to pay more for basic water and sewage services than White people. The researchers state that racism is not to blame, but rather that White flight from heavily populated urban areas leaves Black urban residents with the high costs of maintaining the vast and older water and sewage systems that are often in need of high maintenance and repair.

Stephen Gasteyer, assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State, says that “People of color have the fewest opportunities to leave urban centers and are left to pay for the crumbling legacy of a bygone economic era.” Gasteyer warns that the problem will only get worse. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that hundreds of billions of dollars will be needed over the next 20 years to repair deteriorating urban water and sewage systems.

The study, authored by Gasteyer and colleague Rachel Butts, will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Environmental Practice.

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