24/7 Wall St.: 25 most segregated cities in America

24/7 Wall St., July 18, 2019: 25 most segregated cities in America

More than 50 years after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed housing discrimination on the basis of race, sex, national origin and religion, segregation persists in some of America’s largest cities.

The HOLC created “residential security” maps for major American cities for use by loan officers, appraisers and real estate professionals that outlined neighborhoods according to investment risk, often redlining black neighborhoods as “hazardous” areas. According to the advocacy group National Community Reinvestment Coalition, 74% of the neighborhoods that the HOLC designated as high risk or “hazardous” are low-to-moderate income neighborhoods today, and 64% are minority neighborhoods.

Segregation often limits access to education and employment opportunities for residents of minority communities and contributes to racial disparities in urban areas. Nationwide, 16.8% of black Americans live in majority-black neighborhoods. Adult residents of these neighborhoods are 2.2 times less likely to have a college education than residents of predominantly white neighborhoods, 3.1 times more likely to be unemployed and 3.4 times more likely to live in poverty. Due in part to these disparities, some of the most segregated cities in America also rank among the worst cities for black Americans.

A majority of the most segregated cities in America are located in the South and Midwest and have large black populations overall. Louisiana is home to five of the 25 most segregated cities, followed by Georgia with four and Alabama and Michigan, each with three. In 24 of the 25 most segregated cities, African Americans constitute a larger portion of the population than the 12.7% national share.

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