The most successful blacks and Hispanics are more likely to have poor neighbors than are whites, according to a new analysis of Census data.
The average affluent black and Hispanic household — defined in the study as earning more than $75,000 a year — lives in a poorer neighborhood than the average lower-income non-Hispanic white household that makes less than $40,000 a year.
“Separate translates to unequal even for the most successful black and Hispanic minorities,” says sociologist John Logan, director of US2010 Project at Brown University, which studies trends in American society.
“Blacks are segregated and even affluent blacks are pretty segregated,” says Logan, who analyzed 2005-09 data for the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas. “African Americans who really succeeded live in neighborhoods where people around them have not succeeded to the same extent.”
The disparities are strongest in large metro areas in the Northeast and Midwest where segregation has always been high. It’s lowest in more recent booming parts of the Sun Belt.
“White middle-class families have the option to live in a community that matches their own credentials,” Logan says. “If you’re African American and want to live with people like you in social class, you have to live in a community where you are in the minority.”
Suburbs of Atlanta and Washington, D.C., are exceptions because they are home to large, affluent black populations in established neighborhoods.
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