All-White Urban Neighborhoods 'Effectively Extinct'

But Manhattan Institute report finds that racial inequality persists

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 31, 2012 7:48 AM CST | Updated Jan 31, 2012 7:53 AM CST

(Newser) – As America prepares to celebrate Black History Month, revelations both encouraging and discouraging from the Manhattan Institute: A report released yesterday finds that the segregation of blacks in America's cities has hit its lowest point since 1910, thanks in part to the rise of black suburbanization, changes in the law, and improved access to credit. "All-white neighborhoods are effectively extinct," wrote the think-tank fellows behind the report, which reviewed every census between 1890 and 2010. "A half-century ago, one-fifth of America’s urban neighborhoods had exactly zero black residents. Today, African-American residents can be found in 199 out of every 200 neighborhoods nationwide. The remaining neighborhoods are mostly in remote rural areas or in cities with very little black population."

But the report, which focuses on changes in housing over that period, reveals that integration hasn't been a "magic bullet" capable of killing all racial inequality, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Far too many Americans still lack the opportunity to achieve meaningful success," write the authors, who note that the annual median income of black households fell 3.2% in 2010, to $32,068; 27.4% of those households were below the poverty line. "Only a few decades ago, conventional wisdom held that segregation was the driving force behind socioeconomic inequality," they write. "The persistence of inequality, even as segregation has receded, suggests that inequality is a far more complex phenomenon."

Martin Luther King waves to supporters 28 August 1963 from the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall in Washington DC during the 'March on Washington'.
Martin Luther King waves to supporters 28 August 1963 from the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall in Washington DC during the 'March on Washington'.   (Getty Images)
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