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Stable, Racial Integration in the Contemporary United States: An Empirical Overview

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Publication Date: February 1998

Publisher(s): Furman Center for Real Estate

Author(s): Ingrid Gould Ellen

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Social conditions (Urban conditions)

Keywords: Race; Segregation; Community and Economic Development

Type: Article

Abstract:

This article presents a broad empirical overview of the extent of racial integration in the contemporary United States. It begins with a discussion of how to measure stable racial integration in neighborhoods. Then, examining data from 34 metropolitan areas, it shows that while integrated neighborhoods containing blacks and whites are considerably less stable than more homogeneous communities, a majority remain integrated over time. Moreover, integration appears to be growing more viable, with racially integrated communities more likely to be stable during the 1980s than during the previous decade. The growing prevalence of stable, racially integrated neighborhoods is an important fact, running counter to the popular, and often self-fulfilling, view that integration is unviable. These communities offer important research opportunities as well. A better understanding of the circumstances under which racial integration seems to succeed will ultimately shed light on the causes of America’s undeniably extreme level of segregation.