Separate and Unequal

John Logan (Brown University), Brian Stults ( Florida State University)

For members of minority groups, the cost of residential segregation is that the neighborhoods where they live typically have fewer resources than neighborhoods where comparable non-Hispanic whites live.

Research from Census 2000 revealed that the average black household with an income over $60,000 lived in a neighborhood with a higher poverty rate than did the average white household earning less than $20,000. And while the average white elementary student attended a school where about 35% of classmates were eligible for the reduced-price lunch program – an indicator of poverty – the average black or Hispanic student attended a school where 65% of classmates were eligible (see In other words, separate – in both neighborhoods and schools – also means unequal.

Logan’s contribution to US2010 will focus on these issues and evaluate whether there has been any turnaround in the situation since 2000. An early step will be to update measures of residential segregation, first with census tract data from the American Community Survey for 2005-2009 and then with more complete information from Census 2010. His previous research has shown that segregation has been remarkably persistent since 1980, declining slowly between blacks and whites, but actually rising slightly for Hispanics and Asians.

At the same time, there is evidence in some major metropolitan regions that the growth in Hispanic and Asian population in many predominantly white neighborhoods has paved the way for blacks to live in those more diverse places. As immigration has continued and spread to more parts of the country, Logan’s new research will test whether this trend may have begun to impact traditional patterns of segregation.

Another dimension of this project will ask to what extent segregation of minorities or predominantly immigrant groups can be attributed to their lower incomes or high shares of foreign-born persons. And controlling for these important predictors of where people live, what has been the trend in neighborhood inequalities? Do minorities still live in locales with higher poverty rates, lower education levels, less homeowners and more vacant housing than do comparable whites? Do U.S.-born Hispanics and Asians still live in less desirable neighborhoods than native whites? (See .)

The Census Bureau will tabulate information from Census 2010 and the American Community Survey for school districts. When these data become available, Logan also will update his analyses of school disparities, combining census data, school demographic data, and results from statewide standardized tests. These files will be incorporated into the web-based map system and made available for download by other researchers.


© Spatial Structures in Social Sciences, Brown University