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Affluent African Americans More Likely to Live in Poor Areas Than Whites

Over the past decade, the economic condition of many minorities across the nation, in particular African Americans has worsened. According to a new report by J ohn Logan, a Brown University sociologist and director of the US2010 Project, using census data, most successful African Americans are more likely to have poor neighbors when compared to whites.

    More notable was the observation that these disparities are the largest in big metro areas in the northeast and Midwest — locations where segregation is traditionally high. The mean income for affluent African Americans was defined in the study as earning more than $75,000 an annually. The study reported that this segment of the population most often resides in neighborhoods in which the average lower-income non-Hispanic white household makes less than $40,000 annually.
    Logan, based on the 2005-09 data for the nation’s 384 metropolitan areas suggested that “African Americans who really succeeded live in neighborhoods where people around them have not succeeded to the same extent.”
    The average white household lives in neighborhoods that are 8.4 percent poor. But larger metro areas in states hard hit by the housing foreclosure crisis such as Nevada, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, display a much smaller difference. Logan’s findings conclude that African Americans who are affluent are more exposed to poverty than the average white household in all but two of the top 50 metro areas — Las Vegas and Riverside, Calif.
    The question is whether these housing decisions are by choice, since many African Americans may prefer to live with individuals similar to themselves, or if it is due to economic segregation and practices such as redlining? Regardless, it shows a pattern that has been historically consistent in the annals of U.S. history with respect to race relations. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.