Racial segregation refers neighborhoods within cities that are racially homogenous. This leads to an inequality of privilege and access to services. The practice has been in the US since the colonial period and the law and social structures favour the white Americans over their fellow Americans of African, Asian, Hispanic as well as Latino origins.
Until the 1960s, the highest privileges such as education, court procedures, immigration, citizenship, voting rights, and property or land acquisition were accorded to white Americans. The discrimination of people based on race was officially banned in the US in the mid 20th century. Although it is treated as a social evil, racism is greatly reflected in American politics and the inequality is evident in socioeconomic structures.
Recent research conducted by 24/7 Wall Street revealed the country’s metropolitans areas that are the most affected by racial segregation.
The Most Racially Segregated Cities in the United States
Detroit is the largest city in the US state of Michigan, historically known for its automotive factories. The intense economic decline that has occurred in Detroit in recent years may have contributed to its wealth gap. The report states that while 10% of Detroit's white population lives in poverty, 33.3% of the black population lives in poverty. This data can be blamed largely on the concept of white flight, where rich white residents fled to the suburbs in the mid 20th century, while poorer black residents could not.
Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States. The report states that while 7.2% of Chicago's residents live in poverty, 29.0% of its black population does. This is a difference of more than four times. This can be mostly blamed on racist zoning practices and racial segregation. The report states that 50% of Chicago's black residents reside in neighborhoods where at least 80% of residents are black.
Jackson is the capital city of Mississippi. Mississippi has always struggled with its poverty rate, but there is a disparity in the poverty rate in regards to race. While 9.5% of white residents in Jackson live in poverty, 30% of black residents in Jackson do.
The Evils of Racial Segregation
Segregation in neighborhoods leads to racial tension in the cities listed above. It also creates a huge gap in the socioeconomic status of the people. For example, the likelihood of a black person living in an area of concentrated poverty is higher than that of their white counterpart. This difference in wealth distribution in turn creates disparity in the services accessed by those living in the affected areas. Those occupying the poor neighbourhoods have access to lower quality health care and education which results in inequality. Crime is also more rampant in these racially segregated cities.