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Black segregation in U.S. drops to lowest in century
The findings on segregation are based on a pair of demographic measures that track the degree to which racial groups are evenly spread between neighborhoods. Both showed declines in black-white segregation from 2000 to the lowest in generations.
One of those measures found that the average white person now lives in a neighborhood that is 79 percent white, compared to 81 percent in 2000. The average black person lives in a 46 percent black neighborhood, down from 49 percent. For Hispanics, their average neighborhood was 44 percent Hispanic, up slightly from 45 percent.
Still, the recent gains in racial integration are somewhat limited, said John Logan, a sociologist at Brown University who has studied residential segregation. He noted that black-white segregation remained generally high in areas of the Northeast and Midwest. In those areas, there is slow population growth and white flight from increasingly minority neighborhoods is still common.
As for Hispanics and Asians, while residential movement out of ethnic neighborhoods has been increasing, those numbers have generally been surpassed by the arrival of new immigrants into traditional enclaves.
“The political implications of these trends are great in the long run — majority black districts will become harder to sustain, while more majority Hispanic districts will emerge, especially for state and local positions,” Logan said.
Due to incomplete 2009 data, the analysis of racial segregation omits seven metro areas: Sarasota, Fla., Greenville, S.C., Harrisburg, Pa., Jackson, Miss., McAllen, Texas, Portland, Maine, and Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
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