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For Even The Most Successful Blacks And Hispanics, ‘Separate’ Means ‘Unequal’

August 2, 2011

A new research brief from the US2010 Project shows that the average black or Hispanic household earning over $75,000 lives in a poorer neighborhood than the average white resident earning under $40,000.

The US2010 Project’s data show in most metro areas there are similar neighborhood gaps in median and per capita income; percent of residents with a college education or professional occupation; home ownership; and housing vacancy (http://www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/SeparateAndUnequal/Default.aspx).

“Given that blacks and Hispanics have 30 to 40 percent lower incomes than whites, it’s not surprising that they live in worse neighborhoods,” said US 2010 Project Director John Logan, author of the study and a Brown University sociologist. “But these results show that even high-earning minorities tend to be segregated into less desirable areas.”

To download the brief, see http://www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/Projects/Reports.htm.

The Pew Research Center reported in July that the race gap in household wealth has grown sharply in the last four years. Neighborhood disparities are one source of this trend. Even in good times, because minorities live in worse locations than whites with similar incomes, the value of their homes tends not to rise as much. In the current recession their neighborhoods are the most likely to suffer high rates of foreclosure and loss of home equity. Because most of the wealth of average Americans is in their homes, segregation is a big contributor to wealth inequalities.

Logan’s research on segregation is part of US 2010, a program of research on changes in American society in the recent past, supported by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University.

“The special feature of US 2010 is that it tackles questions of change in American society not from the perspective of one scholar or one topic, but with the expertise of a nationwide team of scholars who were brought together for this purpose,” Logan said. More information is available on the project webpage: www.s4.brown.edu/us2010.

The US 2010 project will culminate with a 14-chapter book published by the Russell Sage Foundation, which has a 50-year tradition of publishing respected, authoritative, census-based research.

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