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America’s cities are becoming less segregated, according to a new report by the Manhattan Institute.

The report names several reasons for the racial integration:

  1. Black people have moved to the suburbs. There are very few all-white neighborhoods these days. Most neighborhoods have at least a few black residents.
  2. Ghettos are emptying out. We’ve certainly seen this in Rochester. One census tract in northeast part of the city lost one-third of its residents in the last decade. Some of this has to do with public housing policies that fostered integration. The study noted, however, that while all-white neighborhoods are becoming extinct, the number of predominantly black neighborhoods declined only 7 percent from 2000 to 2010.
  3. Gentrification and immigration. White people and immigrants are moving into ghettos in some cities, though this is seen as a minor factor.

What’s the story in Rochester?

The report found only slightly more integration here in the last decade. A look at the numbers shows segregation still persists.

Rochester’s Dissimilarity Index went from 65 percent in 2000 to 62 percent in 2010. That means 62 percent black people would have to move to create even distribution of races.

Rochester’s Isolation Index went from 36 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2010. That means the average black person lives in a neighborhood with 34 percent more black people than the metropolitan average.

Buffalo is more segregated than Rochester. Albany is less segregated. Syracuse is about the same. Binghamton was on the list of top 10 metro areas with the largest increases in segregation.

Why do we care?

Separate is unequal, as our history has taught us. Integration is important to decrease racism, isolation and poverty. It’s also important to increase opportunity and equality. But the study’s authors conclude racial integration is not a cure-all:

Yet we now know that eliminating segregation was not a magic bullet. Residential segregation has declined pervasively, as ghettos depopulate and the nation’s population center shifts toward the less segregated Sun Belt. At the same time, there has been only limited progress in closing achievement and employment gaps between blacks and whites.

I would have liked to see a report on economic and educational segregation, as well. Nothing’s a “magic bullet,” but our community still feels pretty segregated, doesn’t it?

7 Responses to We’re Still Segregated

  1. Yes,after being here nearly 2 years,I can honestly say that Rochester really Does still have the air of a segregated city. And being such a significant part of American history,that’s NOT the direction the city wants to keep moving towards.

    Having spent part of my childhood in Birmingham,Alabama in the early 70’s, you Knew where ‘to go and Not go’. Unfortunately, there seems to be a unspoken sense of that same mindset here;I just heard a man, who lives in the East End, make a comment to someone that flat-out Painted the north end of town as ‘the ghetto’…
    Never mind the fact that there were 2 unsolved deaths within the last year in the Harvard/Oxford area-and the media coverage disappeared within a week at the latest.

    Until people use ALL of this community’s assets(and admit to its headaches),as well as really find out Who their neighbors on the opposite side of town really are,the uneasy fog that hangs over this city will only get deeper and add to an already uneasy climate;on every facet and level…

    Because no matter what: saving a community starts on an Individual level,NOT a governmental one.

  2. You are mentioning a study from the Manhattan Institute, a very biased right wing organization. I would look elsewhere for more proof. The white birthrate is much lower than other races so of course we are living with less white neighborhoods but the divide between African Americans and Whites are very wide.

    • For sure – while the headline of the study is that segregation is at an all-time low – it’s still pretty bad.

  3. July 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm Stephen Adams responds:

    As long as so many in the burbs are cowards and afraid of brown people there will be no major change in the ethnic make up of the city as in other metro areas with more intelligent and less racist populations.

  4. September 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm Bye Bye Western New York responds:

    Yeah I did not like the use of the word ghetto. If we are going by standard definition, Brighton would be the ghetto.

    However, I have not lived in Rochester in over 10 years (and thank God for that!). I currently live in Virginia and I can honestly say Rochester is the most segregated and racist place I’ve ever lived! And I live in the heart of the Confederacy!

  5. March 27, 2014 at 6:01 pm J craft responds:

    If we would just get over the idea that because you are low income you are segregated . We as a human race have always segergated people on the basis of income and education. I think if we would base our concern in the area of being a decent person a person who can feel good about being who they are and know that they have something to bring to the table of life. Our standards have changed our generations that have been effected by our society expectations .) people that don’t conform to what is considered to be a good life. We need to get over ourselfs and get real. The main thing is you can be a law obeying citizen a decent person and make a living. A job makes all the difference a job that is well done and appreciated what ever it may be. Shame on us to judge others by our standard of what is success .

  6. March 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm J craft responds:

    It could be a simple thing as dynamics . As a society we are at a place that measures success by the amount of money you make instead by character . This expectation is the cause of low self imaging and the cause of segergation . If we as a people are to have a positive impact we need to realize the message that our society sends.

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