24/7 Wall St: The Most Segregated Cities in America

24/7 Wall St, August 31, 2021, The Most Segregated Cities in America

The patterns of segregation in many major metropolitan areas can be traced back to laws and legal racial housing policies of the early 20th century used to exclude Black residents from certain neighborhoods. Even after the Supreme Court began to ban explicitly racist zoning policies in the mid-20th century, governments used the federally-backed Home Owners’ Loan Corporation to continue segregation policies.

The HOLC created “residential security” maps according to investment risk, often redlining Black neighborhoods as “hazardous” areas. According to 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.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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