Why American cities remain segregated 50 years after the Fair Housing Act

Henry S. WebberHank Webber, executive vice chancellor and chief administrative officer


Fifty years after passage of the Fair Housing Act, large urban areas still remain highly segregated by both race and income. A report last year in the Washington Post concluded that that although the United States is on track to be a minority-majority nation by 2044, most of us have neighbors that are the same race as us.

This homogeneity is deepening in communities across the nation. A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago portrayed the stark income inequality across Chicago neighborhoods, which have also been plagued historically by racial segregation. In 1970, half of Chicago’s census tracts were middle income. Today, that’s true of only 16 percent of tracts in the city. Most of Chicago’s middle-income neighborhoods have become low-income neighborhoods, though the number of high-income neighborhoods has also increased sharply.

The study piqued my interest. I wanted to know what was happening in my hometown of St. Louis. The City of St. Louis, like Chicago, has also suffered a long history of segregation.

Read the full piece in the Oxford University Press blog.

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