University Study Indicates a Lessening of Residential Racial Segregation

A study by Reynolds Farley of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research finds that residential racial segregation in U.S. metropolitan areas is on the decline. Professor Farley’s data shows that black-white residential segregation has declined in all 394 U.S. metropolitan areas since 1980.

Farley states, “While black-white segregation remains high in many places, there are reasons to be optimistic that ‘apartheid’ no longer aptly describes much of urban America. Even Chicago and Detroit, which were bastions of racial segregation, have become more integrated.”

The end of “White Flight?”: A 1976 survey by the institute found 40 percent of whites said they would move if their neighborhood became one third black. But the most recent survey found that only 19 percent of white families would try to move if their neighborhood became one third black.

Farley’s research is published in Contexts, a quarterly journal of the American Sociological Association.

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