Residential segregation continues to persist in 21st century America though the dynamics have changed somewhat, experts have found.
According to a new analysis published in The Professional Geographer, highly diverse neighborhoods are still very rare despite a spike in the racial diversity of U.S. cities over the past 20 years.
“While segregation has waned, new forms of diversity have emerged and new forms of segregation have also emerged,” said Richard Wright, professor of geography at Dartmouth College and one of the study’s primaries, in a video posted on YouTube.
Wright, along with colleagues Steven R. Holloway, professor of geography at the University of Georgia, and Mark Ellis, professor of geography at the University of Washington, examined neighborhood tract data from the 1990, 2000, and 2010 U.S. censuses and created “cartographic visualizations” of 53 large metropolitan areas.
The academicians found that though there aren’t many neighborhoods “that are all White or all Black,” integration is still a far-away goal.
“The trend we’ve seen is for predominantly white tracts to become more racially diverse,” Wright said in a Dartmouth Now article. “…And while the number of low-diversity, African American neighborhoods has declined a little, it’s nowhere near the same rate as low-diversity, white-dominated tracts. So old histories are getting rewritten in these metropolitan areas, but African Americans remain segregated.”
Immigration also is driving other settlement trends, the study purports.
“We’ve also seen an increase in the number of tracts that are Latino-dominated and undiverse, and a greater count of Asian-dominated tracts that are undiverse. And this is because of immigration,” Wright said.
The takeaway from his research, Wright concluded, is while segregation has indeed declined, “we should be very cautious talking about the 21st century being the century of diversity or the end of a segregated century.”