As American cities continue to grow and change, one of the most noticeable trends is the increasing segregation of neighborhoods by income, race, and ethnicity. This growing segregation is having a profound impact on the social and economic fabric of our cities.
Income segregation has been on the rise for decades. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that in 2010, the average income of the richest 20 percent of households was 7.8 times that of the poorest 20 percent. This is up from a 6.9 to 1 ratio in 1970. The study also found that the gap between the richest and poorest neighborhoods has more than doubled since 1970.
The growing segregation of American cities is not just an issue of income. Race and ethnicity also play a role. A study by the Manhattan Institute found that the average black resident of a majority-black neighborhood lives in a poorer neighborhood than the average white resident of a majority-white neighborhood. The study also found that segregation by race and ethnicity has increased since 1990.
The effects of segregation are far-reaching. Segregated neighborhoods are more likely to have higher crime rates, lower-performing schools, and fewer job opportunities. Residents of segregated neighborhoods are also more likely to experience poor health outcomes.
The growing segregation of American cities is a complex issue with no easy solutions. But if we are to create more equitable and prosperous cities, we must begin to address the issue head-on.