National

America’s Most Segregated Cities

This Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 file photo shows the Cleveland skyline taken from Edgewater Park in Cleveland. Cleveland and Cincinnati are the two Ohio cities still in contention to host the 2016 Republican National Convention with the list of possible cities narrowed to six on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
This Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 file photo shows the Cleveland skyline taken from Edgewater Park in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

(24/7 Wall St) – Racial segregation in U.S. neighborhoods has declined over the past several decades but it remains very high. Meanwhile, residential segregation by income has risen sharply from the relatively low levels in the 1970s. Large metropolitan areas are among the nation’s most segregated regions, and while none are meaningfully integrated, some are divided far more along racial lines than others.

To identify the most segregated neighborhoods in America, 24/7 Wall St. constructed an index based on the share of a metro area’s population living in racially homogeneous zip codes — areas where more than 80% of the population is of a single race or ethnicity. In metro areas with complete integration, every zip code has the same racial/ethnic distribution as the area’s whole population. In areas with the worst segregation, no one lives in a zip code with anyone of a different race/ethnicity.

We reviewed only metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents. Of those, since racial segregation is only possible in areas with people of various ethnicity, only 29 sufficiently diverse metropolitan areas were considered. Based on our index, more than a third of residents in nine U.S. metro areas live in homogeneous zip codes, segregated from other racial groups.

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