The Dream Revisited
Discussion 22: The Stubborn Persistence of Racial Segregation

Discussion 22: The Stubborn Persistence of Racial Segregation

December 2016

The twenty-second discussion explores the role of residential choices in sustaining segregation within American cities.


  • Residential Mobility by Whites Maintains Segregation Despite Recent Changes

    by Jackelyn Hwang

    Despite meaningful gains in wealth accrual, educational attainment, poverty reduction, and societal attitudes towards integration, Blacks largely continue to live in different neighborhoods than Whites. To address this, we need to consider that in spite of the relative improvements, Whites still exhibit residential mobility patterns that maintain racial segregation when choosing which neighborhoods to enter and exit. 


  • Start with the Micro, Move to the Macro

    by Richard Sander

    Rather than working at the national or metropolitan scale, policy makers should instead focus on how integration takes place within local contexts. Understanding why a given neighborhood is able, or unable, to integrate will allow for the creation of new models better suited to targeting a next generation of desegregation policies.

  • Sticky Preferences: Racial Exclusion’s Staying Power

    by Solomon J. Greene

    The impact of White residential mobility on segregation is equally relevant with regards to those who choose to stay in their neighborhoods. That choice is reinforced by exclusionary policies to limit low-income people of color moving into high-opportunity neighborhoods, and the long term drag on mobility owing to the effects of wealth accumulation for residents in areas of racially concentrated poverty. This persistent segregation will not be solved solely through evolving preferences and frequency of moves, intentional strategies must be designed and implemented to begin breaking down these barriers. 

  • Persistent Acts of Housing Discrimination Perpetuate Segregation

    by Jorge Andres Soto

    Since the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968 the actions to discriminate against minority populations have become less explicit, but no less effective. This all but ensures that those discriminated against face a difficult housing search that generally results in substandard units located in chronically poor communities. HUD, the institution responsible for both implementation and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, has struggled to operate within this inherent conflict of interest. 

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