ETI Publications

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Technical Paper

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This block level analysis raises serious questions about the white-black housing dissimilarity segregation index historically used to rank the racial segregation of metropolitan areas. The analysis examines the assumptions of the dissimilarity index about the lack of integration occurring in many cities with large African American populations. No single statistic or set of statistics can capture the complex population mix and levels of integration and segregation in urban America, and the current segregation rankings of cities and metropolitan areas, while popular in the media, appear to offer little insight into the configuration of neighborhoods in cities with large African American populations. Given housing preferences and electoral successes of African Americans in majority black neighborhoods and cities, emphasis on even dispersal of African Americans throughout each metropolitan area can hardly be considered a singular national goal with broad-based consensus. Further, in-migration of Latino and Asian populations has brought increasing diversity to urban neighborhoods. In this context, integration may appropriately be defined as successful mixing of diverse populations, rather than seeking the continued dominance of neighborhoods by an urban white majority.