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Report: Latino Segregation Associated with Diminished Social and Economic Outcomes

September 17th 2015 / Download PDF

NYU Furman Center finds that metropolitan-area segregation is associated with 
diminished social and economic mobility for both Blacks and Latinos.

New York, NY: Latinos seem to be inheriting the segregated urban structures experienced by African Americans and, to a similar extent, the diminished social and economic outcomes associated with segregation, a new NYU Furman Center report finds.
 
The brief, Black and Latino Segregation and Socioeconomic Outcomes (PDF), by Ingrid Gould Ellen,Jorge de la Roca, and Justin Steil, released today by the NYU Furman Center, examines the relationships between metropolitan segregation levels and socioeconomic outcomes for Latinos and African Americans and explores mechanisms to explain these relationships.
  
The report finds that racial gaps in educational and labor market outcomes are significantly wider in U.S. metropolitan areas with higher levels of residential segregation.  In more segregated metropolitan areas, both native-born Latinos and African Americans are significantly less likely compared with whites to graduate from high school and college, and are more likely than whites to be neither working nor in school. Additionally, higher levels of segregation are associated with dramatic reductions in earnings for both African Americans and Latinos relative to whites.
 
“It appears that residential segregation is shaping—and constraining—education, job, and wage opportunities for Latinos as much as it has for African Americans despite their lower levels of segregation” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, faculty director of the NYU Furman Center and coauthor of the study.
 
The report identifies disparities in neighborhood structures that help to explain the findings. The authors find that racial gaps in neighborhood human capital, access to public services (including public schools), and exposure to neighborhood violence are all wider in more segregated metropolitan areas.  
 
“Persistent segregation between racial groups is consistently associated with socioeconomic outcomes for Latinos and African Americans alike,” said Ellen. “Residential segregation should continue be of concern to policymakers as our urban areas grow more racially diverse.” 
 
 
 
KEY FINDINGS

1. In cities across the country, whites consistently exhibit better socioeconomic outcomes than native-born Latinos and blacks, including:

High School Graduation: In segregated metropolitan areas, native-born Latinos and native-born African Americans are significantly less likely than whites to graduate from high school.
College Graduation: Native-born Latinos and native-born African Americans in segregated metropolitan areas are less likely than whites to complete college.
Idleness (neither working nor in school): Native-born Latinos and native-born African Americans in segregated metropolitan areas are more likely than whites to be neither working nor in school.
Earnings: Higher levels of segregation are associated with dramatic reductions in earnings for both African Americans and Latinos relative to whites.

2. Place-based mechanisms can help explain the patterns leading to disparities in socioeconomic outcomes associated with segregation:

Neighborhood Human Capital: Exposure to more educated neighbors can help shape young people’s exposure to role models and access to social networks that facilitate social and economic advancement.
Public Services: Racial gaps in the exposure to school proficiency increase consistently with segregation, indicating that school quality may be an important mechanism through which segregation operates.
Violence: Exposure to violence powerfully affects children and shapes their academic trajectories. Urban segregation both enables whites to cluster in neighborhoods that are insulated from violence, and exposes blacks and Latinos to violent crime as segregation levels increase.

 
The research brief, Black and Latino Segregation and Socioeconomic Outcomes (PDF), is now available.

The full paper, Desvinculado y Desigual: Do the Effects of Segregation Differ for African Americans and Latinos? (PDF), by Justin Steil, Jorge De La Roca, and Ingrid Gould Ellen, was published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science July 2015 vol. 660 no. 1 57-76. 

For more information, contact: Shannon Moriarty, [email protected], w 212-998-6492, c 617-824-0069