Published on Wednesday, April 4, 2001 by Agence France Presse
Segregation Still Widespread in US Cities
WASHINGTON - The segregation of minority groups is still widespread in the United States, despite the country's increasingly multiracial population, two studies said.
Blacks and whites continue to live in separate neighborhoods of US cities with large black populations, said the Civil Rights Project, Harvard University's research center, after analyzing census data gathered in 2000.
It said the most segregated US city was New York, followed by Stockton in California, Houston, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles/Long Beach, Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa, San Diego, Detroit, Michigan and Atlanta.
The findings were echoed by another report by John Logan, a professor of sociology and director of the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban Research at the State University of New York.
"In the metropolitan areas where most blacks, Hispanics and Asians live, we see little if any change in segregation levels from 1990," it said.
"The average white person continues to live in a neighborhood that looks very different from those neighborhoods where the average black, Hispanic and Asian live."
A typical American white person lives in a neighborhood that is 83 percent white and seven percent black, the Logan report said. It said 70 percent of whites live in residential suburbs, compared to only 40 percent of blacks.
Half the US Hispanic population live in urban ghettos, the report said.
Gary Orfield, the head of Harvard University research team, said neighborhood integration "has remained a goal of public policy and popular opinion because it is seen as proof of the American ideal of equal opportunity.
"But, in fact, the growth of minority populations and the absence of improvement in segregated living patterns has meant that Hispanics and Asians now live in slightly more isolated settings than they did in 1990.
"Very few people want to live in all-minority neighborhoods," Orfield said, attributing the trend to a "combination of fear and discrimination."
The Harvard researcher said significant changes in federal and local policies are needed to reduce existing segregation, which is inconsistent with anti-discrimination legislation passed some 30 years ago by Congress.
"There has never been more than a very small enforcement effort however," Orfield said, adding that "even with the additional efforts of private fair housing groups and lawyers for individual plaintiffs, discrimination is still widespread."
Copyright © 2001 AFP