In a study released this week, two Manhattan Institute researchers heralded the “end of the segregated century.” But their report used a measure of segregation that masks important demographic and economic trends. A measure of segregation that is more relevant for policy and more intuitively reasonable reveals that the neighborhood exposure of African Americans to whites is no greater today than it was 60 years ago, and is considerably less than it was in 1940.
In some respects, racial residential segregation continues to get worse, not better. Low-income African Americans are more segregated from upper-income African Americans, leaving more poor black households in “truly disadvantaged” neighborhoods where educational success of children is nearly impossible. And we can also expect segregation to increase, even by the Manhattan Institute’s overly optimistic measure, as the foreclosure crisis forces more black families into more racially homogeneous and poorer neighborhoods.
For more, read this detailed critique of the Manhattan Institute study that EPI published today.