Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Study reports segregation numbers

Fifty-eight percent of Madison blacks live in racially segregated neighborhoods, according to a report by the Associated Press.


The report, compiled from data gathered in the 2000 U.S. Census, included all U.S. cities with populations over 100,000.


Fifty-five percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders live in segregated neighborhoods in Madison, and 50 percent of non-white Hispanics live in segregated neighborhoods.


Ethnic groups comprising less than 1.5 percent of the city?s surveyed total population were not considered statistically viable.


The status of the housing market helps to decode racial segregation, UW ethnic studies and African-American studies professor Michael Thornton said.


“The easiest way to understand this information is that the members of the segregated population are working-class families who find the housing market tight, and thus moving to higher-income neighborhoods is extremely difficult,” said Thornton. “Students here can probably appreciate the expense of housing in most cities.”


Segregation statistics exceeding 50 percent are considered relatively high for a study of this kind, UW-Madison history professor Brenda Plummer said.


“If communities are not required to distribute housing proportionately, you will see lower-income people of racial and ethnic minorities concentrated in one area,” Plummer said.


Blacks comprise 12.3 percent of the total U.S. population, yet make up only 5.7 percent of the total Wisconsin population, and only 4 percent of Dane County.


The exact cause of neighborhood segregation is unknown; however, housing policies and government actions play a role, Plummer said.


“Local governmental policies can often aid and abet placing minorities in one spatial group,” she said. “Housing activists in the city now are questioning the willingness of landlords to accept minorities. There is certainly some controversy over this matter right now, and it may come down to what amounts to a problem of discrimination.”


The Brookings Institution on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, a non-partisan think tank out of Washington, D.C., said a 30-year trend toward decreased racial segregation in the United States has continued in the 1990s.


Segregation levels of whites versus blacks in the 2000 Census were the lowest since 1920.


The fastest-growing cities in the country, especially the West Coast, exhibit no noticeable racial segregation patterns. However, cities with little or no population growth or economic advancement in the past several decades remain nearly as segregated as they were at the turn of the century, according to the U.S. Census.


A 1997 study by the News Observer indicated Milwaukee as the second most racially segregated city in the country, behind only St. Louis, Mo.

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