Study Finds Large But Narrowing Racial Divide in Residential Racial Segregation

urbanA recent study led by Glenn Firebaugh, the Roy C. Buck Professor of American Institutions, Sociology, and Demography, at Pennsylvania State University finds that in what many have called the “postracial society,” Blacks and Hispanics still are significantly more likely than Whites to live in high-poverty neighborhoods. These neighborhoods often have low-quality schools, high crime rates, poor housing stock, less access to adequate health care, and reduced social services.

Professor Firebaugh said that “when you look at the neighborhood poverty rate in the average neighborhood where Whites or Asians live, versus those where Blacks or Hispanics live, we can see that the racial divide is still very large.”

The research did find that the gap between Blacks and Whites had narrowed somewhat from 1980 to 2010. However, they found that despite a lessening of the poverty gap between Blacks and Whites, there was not a corresponding reduction in residential racial segregation.

The study, “Still Large, but Narrowing: The Sizable Decline in Racial Neighborhood Inequality in Metropolitan America, 1980–2010,” was published in the journal Demography. It may be viewed here.


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