University Study Finds That Families Who Move Tend to Self-Segregate by Race

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington finds that when Blacks and Whites move, they tend to seek out neighborhoods where members of their own racial or ethnic group reside. Researchers tracked the movement of 44,808 Black households and 57,415 White households since 1968. Using demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the study found that 44 percent of all moves by Black families ended up with the Black family moving to a predominantly Black neighborhood. Only 5 percent of African American moves were to predominantly White neighborhoods. Nearly 18 percent moved to diverse multiethnic neighborhoods.

White families were less likely than Blacks to “cross the color line.” Nearly 57 percent of Whites moved to predominantly White neighborhoods. Two percent moved to Black neighborhoods and only 5.6 percent moved to diverse, multicultural neighborhoods. Nearly 36 percent moved to slightly diverse neighborhoods that were still predominantly White.

The researchers noted that Black neighborhoods, where many African American families choose to move either by preference or due to economic necessity, still tend to have inferior schools, higher crime and unemployment rates, and lower levels of public service.

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