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Racial Segregation in Cities Hits 100-Year Low

By Katherine Mangu-Ward

America's cities are becoming less segregated. In 75 percnt of the nation's 100 largest metro areas, racial segregation rates are lower than they have been for a century, according to yesterday's Census Bureau American Community Survey of 10 million Americans:

"Milwaukee, Detroit, and Syracuse, N.Y., were among the most segregated, all part of areas in the Northeast and Midwest known by some demographers as the 'ghetto belt,'" according to the Associated Press. "On the other end of the scale, cities that were least likely to be segregated included Fort Myers, Fla., Honolulu, Atlanta and Miami."...

It isn't that the North, which has lagged behind the South and West in integration rates, has dramatically different attitudes on race. Rather, new housing and job opportunities in the South and West have helped to spur integration there.

The trend looks likely to continue—48 percent of babies last year were born to non-white families. Besides being a cool story of economic freedom promoting positive social gains, there's also a purely political angle. Congressional redistricting is coming up in the wake of the 2010 Census and race will be a major factor

Federal courts have a civil rights mandate to protect minority voting power, which tends to help Democrats, but such court orders may become more difficult to enforce in places such as urban Atlanta, where blacks and whites increasingly live next door to one another.


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