Sociologists Douglas Massey and Jonathan Rothwell have published an article looking at patterns of residential segregation titled “The Effect of Density Zoning on Racial Segregation in U.S. Urban Areas” (Urban Affairs Review, 44: 779-806).  In a presentation at Fordham University, Massey summarized some of their findings. In a story regarding the presentation, Sociologist Warns of New Form of Segregation, he is quoted as saying that, while progress has been made on racial and ethnic integration, segregation on the basis of income and wealth has increased:

The period from 1970 to the present was one of tremendous socioeconomic change. The United States became a vastly more unequal society over this period. . . . By the present time, we are more unequal in terms of income and wealth than any time since 1929. It’s as if all the equalizing policies of the New Deal have been wiped out, and in fact, many of those policies have been wiped out.

In other words, the average person is more likely to live in a neighborhood with others that are also poor than was the case in the past. As the author of the article puts it:

whereas in 1970, the average poor person lived in a neighborhood that was about 13 percent poor, by 1990 the average poor person lived in a neighborhood that was 28 percent poor.

Massey recommends that we need to consider more seriously the intersection of both race and class if we are to understand issues of segregation.

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