Greater Segregation Increases Social Disparities
A research brief from the Furman Center at New York University finds that socioeconomic disparities between Whites and both African-Americans and Latinos are larger in metropolitan areas with more residential segregation. Using data from the U.S. Census from 2007-2011, researchers analyzed the relationship between residential segregation and socioeconomic outcomes of native-born individuals between ages 20 and 30. Outcomes include the probably of graduating from high school and college, earnings and the likelihood of being idle, and the likelihood of being a single mother. By looking at 199 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs), the researchers measured segregation using “dissimilarity index scores,” and analyzed how differences in socioeconomic outcomes varied in relation to them. The mean Latino-White dissimilarity index score across CBSAs was .468 and the mean Black-White dissimilarity index score was .579.
Higher levels of segregation are associated with the following disparities:
- Native-born Latinos and native-born African-Americans are significantly less likely than Whites to graduate from high school.
- Native-born Latinos and African-Americans are less likely than Whites to complete college.
- The likelihood of White students graduating from high school does not change based on level of segregation.
- Native-born Latinos and African-Americans are more likely than Whites to be neither in school or employed.
- African-Americans earn less: for instance, the increase in Black/White segregation from Phoenix to New Orleans is associated with a decline in African-Americans’ earnings of 14.8 percent, relative to Whites.
- Latinos earn less: for instance, the increase in Latino/White segregation from Las Vegas to Los Angeles is associated with earning 17.7 percent less relative to whites.
After finding the association between segregation and disparities, the researchers explored the root causes. In segregated places, there are wider differences between neighborhoods when it comes to human capital, public service quality, and exposure to violence. All of these factors can have long-lasting impacts on individuals and families.