Segregation: Bad for Weathy People and White People

Poor people and racial minorities aren't the only ones worse off when regions are divided by race and income.

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The conventional wisdom is that racial and economic segregation is bad for poor people and minorities who are stuck in "inner city" pockets. But The Atlantic is reporting today on new research finding that segregated regions are actually bad news for everyone because they have both slower rates of income growth and property-value appreciation.

The article's conclusion: "When wealthy people decamp for the suburbs -- chasing, perhaps, a better school district for their children -- they may ultimately be contributing to long-term trends in segregation that harm the entire region." Who knew?

This research, published this spring in the journal Urban Studies, inverts the way we traditionally look at urban segregation.

"Most work that's been done in this area looks at the impact of things like segregation on those who are segregated, it looks at their employment probabilities, their wage rates," Campbell says. "The argument that we're trying to make here is that there is reason for everybody in metropolitan areas to be concerned about skills, about education, about housing, about segregation, about integration."

Broader historical trends since the 1960s show that racial segregation in American metros has been on a steady decline. But, looking at data from 1980 to 2005, this study showed that higher rates of racial segregation in a metropolitan area are associated over time with decreases in economic growth. In a place like Detroit, the most racially segregated metropolitan area in the country, this means that the entire region might generate $2 billion a year more in income if it had segregation levels closer to the national average.

Read more at The Atlantic.

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