Segregation in the U.S

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Segregationin the U.S


The U.S. has made tremendous strides towards equality for people ofall races and social classes. In fact, the enactment of the CivilRights Act of 1964 banned racial discrimination. The legislation alsooutlawed unfair treatment based on national origin, sex, andreligion. The Civil Rights Act is credited for ending racialsegregation in general public facilities, at the workplace, and inschools. Notwithstanding, segregation remains a fundamental problemin the U.S. Minority groups continue to experience discrimination inseveral areas. The issue of segregation is quite significant since itcauses disharmony within the society. It is important for governmentprograms to be effective if certain population groups experienceexclusion. Besides, peace and security are threatened as long ascertain communities feel targeted. In fact, uprisings anddemonstrations have led to anarchy whereby people suffer injurieswhile others lose their lives. The research question concerns howsegregation occurs in the modern American society. Understanding theexistence of discrimination can contribute to efforts designed toeradicate social injustices. In this paper, I will prove thatsegregation occurs in the U.S with regards to housing, employment,education, law enforcement, and economic prosperity.


Chetty et al.(2016) examined the association between income and life expectancy inthe U.S. for a period of 15 years. The researchers sought to measurethe geographic variability and time trend in connection with incomelevels. Mortality data was acquired from Social SecurityAdministration while income data was derived from deidentified taxrecords in the period 1999-2014. The researchers identified thegreater longevity that accrued to persons from higher income groups.Whites were found to enjoy higher life expectancy in comparison toblacks in the same income group. Local area characteristics were alsodetermined by the predominant ethnicity.

Gandini &amp Lozano‐Ascencio(2015) analyzed the effects of the 2008 economic downturn on theunemployment levels of minority communities. The writers used theMarch Supplements of the Current Population Survey 2006-2012 toconduct a comparative analysis. Consequently, they identifieddiscernible patterns of wage inequality and occupational segregation.In addition, the American labor market favored native skilledpopulation groups over migrants with similar qualifications. Skilledmigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean suffered greateroccupational segregation in comparison to white residents. Minoritygroups were also underrepresented in white-collar occupations.

Lacey &amp Soskice (2015) investigated the segregation prevalent inthe criminal justice department. The authors highlighted severalincidents that showed how blacks and Hispanics were subjected to morearrests and shootings. African Americans served longer sentences thanwhites even when both populations perpetrated similar crimes.Besides, the authors showed how blacks comprised the largerpercentage of inmates on death row. Many law enforcement agents werebiased against African American suspects. Segregation was quiteobvious in both female and male prisons. The researchers showed theunfair treatment experienced by black juveniles in comparison towhites.

Omi &amp Winant (2015) examined the racial formation in the U.S.based on figures from the Census Bureau. The writers noted theexistence of more whites in comparison to blacks and Hispanics. Mostneighborhoods were dominated by white communities while a few hadpredominantly black residents. The researchers highlighted thedifference in amenities and resources between white and blackneighborhoods. Whites experienced greater financial outcomes incomparison to African Americans.

Owens, Reardon, &amp Jencks (2016) investigated the effects ofincome segregation in leaning institutions and school districts. Theauthors showed that more students experienced inequality with regardsto access to learning resources. An increase in the number ofenrollments would reduce the amount of money available forexpenditure. Racial segregation was also rampant in many schools dueto the discrimination of black and Hispanic students. The authorsshowed the connection between income and racial segregation in publicschools.

Wright, Ellis, &amp Holloway (2014) highlighted the extent ofresidential segregation in the U.S. The researchers analyzed Censusdata to manifest the racial diversity in American communities.Neighborhoods with predominantly white occupants were notably richercompared to those with black residents. African Americans found itharder to acquire mortgage loans in comparison to their whitecounterparts. In fact, most of the mortgages offered to blacks werecharged at higher interest rates. The researchers noted how many ofthe neighborhoods occupied by African Americans were unsafe andpoorly resourced.


Information onsegregation in the U.S. was obtained through extensive internetresearch. Several source documents were used to provide relevantfigures and statistics. For example, the National Bureau of EconomicResearch contained details regarding employment. The National Surveyon Drug Use and Health provided adequate information on drug use andarrests among different populations. Reports from the Department ofEducation highlighted the disparities present in the country’slearning institutions. Other relevant sources of information includethe Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Survey of Consumer Finances,The Civil Rights Projects, the U.S. Sentencing Report, and theAmerican Psychological Association. In addition, raw data from theCensus Bureau and other government sites was analyzed to createtrends. Some books were also consulted to provide recent detailsconcerning racial segregation and income in the U.S. The informationobtained from the various sources revealed certain results.


Notably, minorities such as Hispanics and blacks live in poorerneighborhoods in comparison to whites with similar incomes (Wright etal., 2014). It is important to recognize that such outcomes areobservable at all income levels. Therefore, segregation cannot beattributed to market processes. Blacks and Hispanics also enjoy fewerresources in comparison to whites within the same neighborhood.Reliable figures also show considerable disparities with regards topossession of wealth. Table 1 shows how whites control a staggering88% of the country’s wealth while blacks own 2.7% of the totalwealth (Chetty et al., 2016). Several factors contributed to thedisparities in wealth ownership. For example, restrictive covenantsexploited the inability of black families to acquire conventionalmortgages. Devious contract selling practices also denied blacks theopportunity to acquire wealth through home ownership schemes (Wrightet al., 2014). The racial wealth gap continued to grow even after theenactment of the Civil Rights Act. Consequently, minority communitiesare confined to poorer neighborhoods with fewer resources.

Economic downturns such as the Great Recession have had significantimpact on the proliferation of segregation. Although all populationgroups suffered financial losses, Hispanics experienced over 40%reduction in wealth while blacks lost 30%. On the other hand, whites’wealth fell by only 10%, as shown in table 2. (Omi &amp Winant,2015). This shows the segregation that exists in economic parameters.Banks and other monetary institutions also manifest bias towardsblacks and Hispanics. In fact, minorities are more likely to sufferfrom subprime loans in comparison to whites. Such differences existeddespite the extent of risk involved for both groups (Wright et al.,2014). African Americans had a greater likelihood of acquiringhigher-rate financial instruments in comparison to white Americans.Neighborhoods that comprised of blacks also bore greater burden withregards to subprime refinance mortgages. Furthermore, mortgage denialrates differ among blacks and whites with similar credit scores. Inthis regard, black applicants are more likely to be deniedconventional mortgages in comparison to their white counterparts(Wright et al., 2014). Therefore, segregation in the U.S. is quiterampant in the financial sector.

The education sector manifests several biases against minoritycommunities. In fact, children from black and Hispanic populationshave a higher likelihood of attending low-level, poorly-fundedinstitutions (Owens et al., 2016). An increase in the number ofnon-white students is often accompanied by a reduction in spendingper pupil. In addition, more than 80% of Hispanic students areenrolled in segregated schools while 40% attend intensely segregatedinstitutions (Owens et al., 2016). Table 3 shows how over 70% ofAfrican American students enroll in segregated schools while 30% arepart of intensely segregated institutions. In comparison, only 10% ofwhites attend such schools (Owens et al., 2016). The Department ofEducation also releases statistics that show racial disparities withregards to school punishments. African American students are morelikely to be punished severely in comparison to their whitecounterparts. Despite the fact that blacks comprise only 18% ofschool enrolment, they constitute almost 50% of suspended students(Owens et al., 2016). Such statistics confirm the existence of racialsegregation within the education sector.

The criminal justice system is replete with numerous instances ofsegregation. Racial perceptions of innocence have exposed blackjuveniles to harsher sentences than whites guilty of similar crimes(Lacey &amp Soskice, 2015). Admittedly, whites use drugs and otherintoxicating substances more than minority communities. However,African Americans are arrested for drug possession or peddling threetimes as often as white Americans. Incarceration trends show how 33%of all black men can expect to serve prison terms (Lacey &ampSoskice, 2015). The U.S. Sentencing Commission frequently publishesobjective reports on the criminal justice department. In 2013, it washighlighted that African Americans received prison sentences thatwere 20% longer than whites (Lacey &amp Soskice, 2015). Suchdisparities occurred even when both population groups committed thesame crime. Blacks also comprised a larger percentage of inmates ondeath row despite the fact that African Americans were fewer thanwhites.

In some neighborhoods, blacks were more likely to be stopped,searched, and arrested by law enforcement agents in comparison towhites (Lacey &amp Soskice, 2015). Male and female prisonpopulations comprise more blacks and Hispanics than whites. In manyinstances, African Americans have been victims of extrajudicialkillings even when they were unarmed and surrendered to lawenforcement agents (Lacey &amp Soskice, 2015). Social movements suchas Black Lives Matter have been established to push back againstperceived occurrences of injustice (Lacey &amp Soskice, 2015).Consequently, statistics from the criminal justice departmentpinpoint the existence of widespread segregation against AfricanAmericans and Hispanics.

Moreover, minority groups experienced segregation when searching foremployment opportunities. In this respect, blacks were more likely tobe denied employment in comparison to whites with similarqualifications (Gandini &amp Lozano‐Ascencio,2015). African Americans with clean records also found it harder toacquire and retain jobs due to perception of guilt. Employerspreferred to hire whites since they were assumed to be more honestand responsible than black applicants. African American job-seekerswere assumed to be involved in drug abuse and peddling (Gandini &ampLozano‐Ascencio, 2015).Hence, employers gave more consideration to applicants withwhite-sounding names. African Americans would typically get onecallback per 15 resumes while whites would get one callback per 10resumes (Gandini &amp Lozano‐Ascencio,2015). This disparity reveals how whites enjoy the same benefits thataccrue to an applicant with eight more years of experience. Besides,blacks earn significantly less than whites even when both racialgroups perform the same responsibilities (Owens et al., 2016).Therefore, this highlights the presence of segregation in the labormarket.


Indeed, segregation in the U.S. occurs in the fields of housing,education, law enforcement, employment, and economic prosperity.Admittedly, the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 eliminatedmany occurrences of racial and gender discrimination. Nevertheless,vestiges of segregation continue to permeate many sectors of theAmerican society. For example, blacks live in poorer neighborhoods incomparison to whites with similar incomes. Whites also possess agreater share of the country’s wealth in comparison to AfricanAmericans. Economic downturns such as the Great Recession have causedgreater impact on minority populations relative to whites. Blacksfind it harder to acquire loans and mortgages in comparison towhites. Such disparities occur although both populations have similarcredit risk. African Americans also experience segregation whenseeking employment. Companies are more likely to hire whites thanblacks even if both groups of applicants have similar qualifications.Furthermore, African Americans and Hispanics earn significantly lessthan their white compatriots while fulfilling similar obligations. Inaddition, blacks are convicted for longer sentences than whites whocommit similar crimes. African Americans are also more likely to bestopped, searched, and shot by law enforcement agents. Consequently,segregation in the U.S. is still rampant more than 50 years after theCivil Rights Act was signed.


Chetty, R., Stepner, M., Abraham, S., Lin, S., Scuderi, B., Turner,N., … &amp Cutler, D. (2016). The association between income andlife expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014. Jama,315(16), 1750-1766.

Gandini, L., &amp Lozano‐Ascencio,F. (2015). The effects of the crisis on occupational segregation ofskilled migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean in the UnitedStates, 2006–2012. Population, Space and Place.

Lacey, N., &amp Soskice, D. (2015). Crime, punishment andsegregation in the United States: The paradox of local democracy.Punishment &amp Society, 17(4), 454-481.

Omi, M., &amp Winant, H. (2015). Racial formation in the UnitedStates (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Owens, A., Reardon, S. F., &amp Jencks, C. (2016). Incomesegregation between schools and school districts. AmericanEducational Research Journal, 53(4), 1159-1197.

Wright, R., Ellis, M., &amp Holloway, S. R. (2014). Neighborhoodracial diversity and white residential segregation in the UnitedStates. Social-spatial segregation: Concepts, processes andoutcomes, 111-134.


Table 1: Comparative Percentage of Wealth Ownership

Racial Group




% of Wealth Ownership




Table 2: Comparative Percentage of Economic Loss

Racial Group




% of Economic Loss




Table 3: Comparative Attendance in Segregated Schools

Racial Group




% in Segregated Schools




% in Intensely Segregated Schools