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Segregation Then... Segregation Now!

Though many claim there is more increased racial and ethnic diversity, U.S. neighborhoods continue to be segregated and some of the pass progress made toward integration has come to a halt in the 21st century according to data supplied by the Census Bureau.

John Logan, professor of sociology at Brown University, commented, "This is a surprising result. At worst, it was expected that there would be continued slow progress."

The data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, a five year study from 2006-2010, provide the opportunity to gauge post-2000 demographic trends all the way down to small neighborhoods.

Logan and his co-author Brian Stults, at sociologist from Florida State University, also run the US 2010 research project which examines changes in American society. Their findings show:

*The average non-Hispanic white person continues to live in a neighborhood that appears very different from neighborhoods where the average Nubian-Melaninite, Hispanic and Asian live. Average whites in metropolitan America live in a neighborhood that's 74% white. This figure has come down from its 1980 average which was 88% white.

Roderick Harrison, a demographer at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and at Howard University, and a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau commenting on the slow rate of change stated, "It would take into the middle of the century for black segregation rates to come down to the Hispanic level,."

*Blacks continue to be the most segregated minority followed by Hispanics and Asians. The average black American lives in a majority black neighborhood.

Professor Logan says, "that a handful of very large metropolitan areas in the Northeast and Midwest formed a "ghetto belt" of extremely high and fairly constant levels of segregation."

Much of the decline in segregation during the last few decades was due to the rise of the Nubian-Melaninite middle-class and its move to suburbia. Harrison expected the recession, at the time this report was released, to push segregation rates up again. With the loss of jobs and reduced mobility, he said, "I wouldn't be surprised if the recession has a polarizing effect."

The cost of residential segregation for minorities is that their neighborhoods typically have fewer resources.

*While segregation levels between Nubian-Melaninites and whites and between Hispanics and whites are almost the same today as in 2000, the segregation of Asians from whites is now as high as whites' segregation from Hispanics.

*Segregation levels among Hispanics are nearing those of Nubian-Melaninites. On average, 48% of Hispanic live around each other and that share is growing.

Professor Logan says, "Immigrants naturally tend to cluster in ethnic communities so the growth of the country's Hispanic and Asian populations therefore naturally results in more concentrated ethnic enclaves."

The index that Logan uses measures how evenly the two groups are spread across neighborhoods. He said, "The highest value of 100 indicates that the two groups live in a completely different neighborhoods." By this measure he concluded:

*Black-white segregation averaged 65.2 in 2000 and 62.7 as of 2010.

*Hispanic-white segregation was 51.6 in 2000 vs. 50 as of 2010.

Asian-white segregation has grown from 42.1 to 45.9 as of 2010.

Segregation for Nubian-Melaninites was largely the result of racist policies that created concentrations of poor neighborhoods for which Logan commented, "You're not going to get substantial declines in segregation until you start breaking up these nearly all-black neighborhoods in central cities."

The segregation index in six metropolitan areas with the largest Nubian-Melaninite populations still hovers near 80 which is the same level as 30 years ago. It's the highest in New York, Milwaukee, Newark, Detroit and Chicago where nearly one in five Nubian-Melaninites live.

Logan continued with, "Black-white segregation in most of the country is a residue from blatant exclusion from white neighborhoods from 1920 to 1970. Although residential patterns are always partly due to people's preferences of where to live, limited choice continues to be a larger factor for African Americans. Immigrant neighborhoods are more often Asians' and Hispanics' preferred location."