The New Ethnic Enclaves in America's Suburbs
A report by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research
John R. Logan, Director (contact: 518-442-4656)
For more information, including racial composition and segregation measures for individual metropolitan regions and their suburban rings, see http://www.albany.edu/mumford/census.
Though America's suburbs have always had considerable diversity behind their white middle-class image, they are being radically transformed by population trends of the last three decades. Analysis of data from all 330 metro areas in the continental U.S. shows that while the total suburban population had been only 18% minority in 1990, that figure had risen to 25% in 2000. The total suburban white population scarcely changed in the decade (up 5%), while the number of black suburbanites grew rapidly (up 38%) and the number of Hispanics and Asians in suburbs exploded (up 72% and 84%, respectively).
This report summarizes the results of the Mumford Center's continuing analysis of trends in suburban racial-ethnic composition and segregation. It focuses on three questions:
To what extent have minority groups become suburban?
All groups are becoming more suburban, but no minority group is as suburban as are non-Hispanic whites. Asians are the most suburban of minorities, and African Americans lag far behind.
What has happened to levels of segregation of minorities with whites in suburbs over the last decade?
The answer at the national level is that the extent of segregation is little changed, remaining very high for African Americans, moderate for Hispanics and Asians. There are many differences across metro areas, however. There were substantial declines in segregation in suburban areas with small minority populations, but by definition these affected only a small share of the nation's blacks, Hispanics, or Asians.
- How has the impressive increase in minority suburbanization affected minority neighborhoods in the suburbs? On the whole, black residential enclaves have been maintained at about the same level as in 1990. Hispanics and Asians, however, now live in neighborhoods with much higher co-ethnic proportions than was true a decade ago. New ethnic enclaves, more concentrated than before, are emerging in suburban America.