White families with children drawn to less diverse neighborhoods, schools
Date: March 23, 2017
Source: University of Southern California
Summary: Racial segregation is declining, but it remains higher for families with children than those without, a new study shows. Race appears to be a ‘proxy’ for school quality for many white families with children as they decide where and in which school districts they want to live, suggests a new report.
White families with children continue to live in predominantly white neighborhoods, in part to send their children to predominantly white schools, according to a new study on racial segregation in 100 metropolitan areas.
“Neighborhood racial segregation has been in decline since the 1970s, but my findings show it declined more slowly among families with kids,” said USC Assistant Professor Ann Owens, who analyzed 2010 and 2000 U.S. Census data to examine racial segregation trends.
“This means that children are surrounded by greater racial homogeneity in their neighborhoods than adults,” added Owens, a sociologist at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “A lack of diversity could have a significant effect on the development of their racial attitudes and future education and employment.”
In neighborhoods, housing and urban policies have been key for curbing segregation, she said. The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule of 2015, for example, reiterated the aims of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, requiring municipalities that receive federal housing funds to conduct fair housing assessments.
“The progress made in integrating neighborhoods could be thwarted by policies or policymakers’ efforts to dismantle these efforts,” she said.
Has Trump dumped Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing yet? Maybe he doesn’t want to have to try to say those four words out loud without sounding like Daffy Duck.
… Owens found that neighborhood racial segregation across the country appeared to be driven largely by white families with children who are choosing, consciously or not, to move to neighborhoods and school districts with fewer minorities.
Although segregation has declined overall, it remains a concern, Owens said, because segregation can be detrimental for child wellbeing. Scientific research has shown that low-income and minority children who grow up in segregated neighborhoods and attend segregated schools have worse educational and economic outcomes than children in more integrated areas. High levels of residential segregation have been linked to lower levels of income mobility across generations.
It’s almost as if growing up around white children is a valuable amenity that thoughtful parents will scrimp and save to provide their children with.
Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas, Los Angeles has one of the highest rates of segregation between white and Latino children, even after adjusting for the large Latino child population in Los Angeles, Owens said.
In 2010, Latino children, on average, lived in Los Angeles neighborhoods where 75 percent of the children in their neighborhood were also Latino and 9 percent were white.
It’s almost as if Los Angeles has plumb run out of white children to bestow upon Latinos as classmates, with white students in LAUSD numbering only 9.8%.
White children lived in Los Angeles neighborhoods where, on average, 32 percent of the children in their neighborhood were Latino and 46 percent were white. The racial makeup of the neighborhoods did not reflect Los Angeles County’s demographic composition of 61 percent Latino and 17 percent white among school-age children.
That suggests about 40% of white children in Los Angeles go to private schools or are home schooled. One public school with a decent reputation in Los Angeles recently had its budget cut for attracting a student body that had crept up to being a little over 30% white. It’s kind of hard to attract white students and their Magic Dirt to help integrate Los Angeles public schools when you punish the schools for being less than 70% nonwhite. (The school responded by blaming Trump for parents marking their children down as white instead of a more budgetarily privileged race, and vowed to bully more mixed ethnicity couples into declaring their children nonwhite.)
“If segregation were not occurring, then all children would live in neighborhoods and attend school in districts with this majority Latino, minority white ratio,” Owens said.
Owens said like the neighborhoods, school districts in Los Angeles County also do not reflect the county’s demographic makeup.
For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District student body in 2010 was majority-minority, with 74 percent Latino and 9 percent white. The ratio differed significantly from the largely-white Beverly Hills Unified School District, (5 percent Latino and 74 percent white) …
Have I ever mentioned Beverly Hills before in my blog? It seems like I must have brought up Beverly Hills once or twice before over the years. Somebody was asking me lately why I am like I am, and I suspect growing up on the wrong side of the hills from Beverly Hills was an eye-opening experience.
Miami is similar to Los Angeles in demographic makeup. Even so, it had a lower level of segregation between white and Latino children.
It’s almost as if Miami has different kinds of Latinos than Los Angeles does.
… Families with children appear more concerned about what school district their neighborhood is linked to, and they may even consider race as a factor, Owens said.
“White parents may be avoiding school districts where black and Latino children live because they use racial composition as a proxy for quality of a school and a neighborhood,” she said.
Minority families may have different priorities in deciding where to live, Owens suggested as explanations for the differences between households. …
“Minority parents also may evaluate schools differently than white parents and prefer schools where their children are not the minority,” Owens wrote.