Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Those rotten segregated suburbs!

Everyone knows that suburbs are segregated, especially those in Virginia, while cities are bastions of racial harmony. That's just how it is, and "just how it is" never needs proof.

But look at this, from a source not generally known as biased toward saying such a thing:
William Frey of the Brookings Institution has started to mine the data, concluding that segregation is declining nationally and locally. In his analysis of the 100 largest metropolitan areas, 61 experienced declines in segregation between blacks and whites.

In Washington, Frey found that the average white person lives in a neighborhood that is 63 percent white, the average black person lives in a neighborhood that is 79 percent African American and the average Hispanic person lives in a neighborhood in which one out of four neighbors is Hispanic. That represents a small but noticeable improvement since 2000.

The District [of Columbia] exhibited the most segregation overall under a measurement called the Index of Dissimilarity or, more commonly, the segregation index. It estimates what percentage of people would have to move for races to be distributed in the same proportion in which they're represented overall in a region, with zero being the ideal and anything more than 60 considered high.

At 74 percent, the District had the fifth-highest segregation level in the nation, and Virginia had one of the lowest, 50 percent. Maryland was in between, with 65 percent.
(Emphasis added.)

I'll remember this the next time someone lectures me that people who move to suburbia must have done so to escape integration. Then again, perhaps I am being naïve in thinking that facts will matter.

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