Reflections on the Persistence of Racial Segregation in Housing

Author:Alan C. Weinstein
Position::Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law/Professor of Urban Studies,
Pages:59-77
SUMMARY

Today, we are faced with many issue with hyper-segregations, including: facing a second form of hyper-segregation based on income, making little progress to date in addressing the housing segregation issue, and the idea of "exclusionary zoning" continues to prove to be inadequate in controlling the many continuous hyper-segregation issues.

 
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REFLECTIONS ON THE PERSISTENCE OF RACIAL
SEGREGATION IN HOUSING
ALAN C. WEINSTEIN*
I.!INTRODUCTION
My reflection on Professor Roberts’ Sullivan Lecture poses two
questions. First, how far have we come as a nation from the hyper-
segregated housing patterns of the 1930s through 1960s that Professor
Roberts described in her lecture? Regrettably, the answer appears to be not
far at all. Further, we are today faced with a second form of hyper-
segregation, one based on income rather than race.1 Second, why have we
made so little progress to date in addressing housing segregation? The
simple answer here, of course, is that efforts to address the situation
Professor Roberts describes have proved inadequate.2 But why? While a
comprehensive answer to that question is well beyond the scope of this
writing, the author examines why one of the efforts has proven inadequate:
the attempts to combat “exclusionary zoning.3
II.!RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION THEN AND NOW
Professor Roberts’ article notes that, using one common measure of
racial segregation, the “isolation index,” which measu res the extent to
which blacks live in neighborhoods that are predominantly black, “[t]he
spatial isolation of African-Americans in Chicago in creased from only
Copyright © 2016, Alan C. Weinstein.
* Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law/Professor of Urban Studies,
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University.
1 See, e.g., Sean F. Reardon & Kendra Bischoff, Growth in the Residential Segregation
of Families by Income, 19702009, US2010 PROJECT (Nov. 2011), https://
s4.ad.brown.edu/Projects/Diversity/Data/Report/report111111.pdf [https://perma.cc/T4RG-
XW4F] (concluding that segregation of families by income has grown significantly in the
last 40 years); Paul A. Jargowsky, The Architecture of Segregation: Civil Unrest, the
Concentration of Poverty, and Public Policy, CENTURY FOUND. 1 (Aug. 9, 2015), https://s3-
us-west-2.amazonaws.com/production.tcf.org/app/uploads/2015/08/07182514/Jargowsky_
ArchitectureofSegregation-11.pdf [https://perma.cc/XSX2-V7LG] (finding “a dramatic
increase in the number of high-poverty neighborhoods” and showing that the “number of
people living in high-poverty ghettos, barrios, and slums has nearly doubled since 2000,
rising from 7.2 million to 13.8 million”).
2 See Reardon & Bischoff, supra note 1, at abstract.
3 See infra Part IV.
60 CAPITAL UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [45:59
10% in 1900 to 70% thirty years later.’”4 The situation Professor Roberts
describes has changed little over the ensuing decades. Based on data from
the US2010 Project, the spatial isolation of African-Americans in Chicago
had increased to 89.9% by 1980.5 While the isolation index for African-
Americans had declined to 79.9% by 2010,6 that figur e still represents a
relative increase in isolation for African-Americans of over 14% when
compared to the 1930 figure noted by Professor Roberts.7
Another commonly used measure of segregation in housing is the
dissimilarity index.8 As explained by the US2010 Project:
The dissimilarity index m easures whether one particular
group is distributed across census tracts in the
metropolitan area in the same way as another group. A
high value indicates that the two groups tend to live in
different tracts. D[issimilarity] ranges from 0 to 100. A
value of 60 (or above) is considered very high. It means
that 60% (or more) of the members of one group would
need to move to a different tract in order for the two
groups to be equally distributed. Values of 40 or 50 are
usually considered a moderate level of segregation, and
values of 30 or below are considered to be fairly low.9
4 Dorothy E. Roberts, Crossing Two Color Lines: Interracial Marriage and Residential
Segregation in Chicago, 45 CAP. U. L. REV. 1, 1011 (2017) (citing DOUGLAS S. MASSEY &
NANCY A. DENTON, AMERICAN APARTHEID: SEGREGATION AND THE MAKING OF THE
UNDERCLASS 24 (1993)). The isolation index is the percentage of same-group population in
the census tract where the average member of a racial/ethnic group lives. DOUGLAS S.
MASSEY & NANCY A. DENTON, AMERICAN APARTHEID: SEGREGATION AND THE MAKING OF
THE UNDERCLASS 23 (1993). It has a lower bound of zero (for a very small group that is
quite dispersed) to 100 (meaning that group members are entirely isolated from other
groups). See id. Thus, the index measures “the extent to which minority members are
exposed only to one another . . . .” Douglas S. Massey & Nancy A. Denton, The Dimensions
of Residential Segregation, 67 SOC. FORCES 281, 288 (1988); Margery Austin Turner &
Judson James, Discrimination as an Object of Mea surement, 17 CITYSCAPE: J. POLY DEV.
& RES. 3, 3 (2015) (describing how discrimination in housing is measured). Note, however,
that this index is “affected b y the size of the groupit is almost inevitably smaller for
smaller groups, and it is likely to rise over time if the group becomes larger.” Residential
Segregation, DIVERSITY & DISPARITIES, https://s4.ad.brown.edu/projects/diversity/
segregation2010/Default.aspx [https://perma.cc/SK8X-D9QB].
5 Chicago City, DIVERSITY & DISPARITIES, https://s4.ad.brown.edu/projects/diversity/
segregation2010/city.aspx?cityid=1714000 [https://perma.cc/LK46-3DSR].
6 Id.
7 See Roberts, supra note 4, at 1011.
8 See Chicago City, supra note 5.
9 Id.

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