Missing the MiddleFeb 3rd, 2012 | By Mike Sitkowski
Sean F. Reardon and Kendra Bischoff
The study examines nearly 40 years of data from the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey to determine levels of income segregation by neighborhood in 117 metropolitan areas with greater than 500,000 residents.
Reardon and Bischoff argue that income segregation can exacerbate economic and social inequality. Concentrated wealth and poverty, the authors claim, create disparity in the allocation of public resources and limit opportunity for children in low-income communities.
The authors also find that income segregation among black and Hispanic families rose more sharply from 1970 to 2007 than it did for white families. While the authors are uncertain of the cause of the rapid increases for blacks and Hispanics, they speculate that reductions in housing discrimination and lenient mortgage lending led to increased mobility, which allowed wealthier members of both groups to move out of poorer neighborhoods.
Many areas with the greatest increase in income segregation were smaller metropolitan areas across the Rust Belt. Six of the ten most segregated cities today were from the New York City region and Texas. Only 13 of the 117 metropolitan areas in the study showed a decrease in income segregation.
Reardon and Bischoff speculate that the country’s foreclosure crisis has likely exacerbated income inequality since the completion of the study in 2007.
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