NEW APPROACH TO MEASURING RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION. Despite jokes about bridges between Africa and Poland, the received wisdom (Link from InstaPundit, the story might be moved to a new location), there is new research offering differing measures of residential segregation. (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has been covering the new research extensively, with this criticism of the conventional view of northern cities as "hypersegregated," this report on possible sample-selection biases in existing research, and more to come.) The research is from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Employment and Training Institute (website includes the paper and some supporting maps) -- there's a profile of the principal investigators, who have published some stuff in good journals and worked with some good economists.

That's not to say there isn't some segregation, possibly including self-segregation, in Northern big cities (which appear segregated compared to some Southern big cities, but are less-segregated than some Western big cities, including Salt Lake City with too few people with African ancestors to count.) Milwaukee's Mayor Norquist was a guest of talk show host Charlie Sykes on Monday morning, and he acknowledged the presence of some extremely white suburbs that have proven to be extremely resistant to integration measures such as scattered-site public housing. The mayor was good enough to note that some inner city homeowners also were not enthusiastic about having such housing nearby. The hypothesis that suburban sprawl is in part driven by white flight remains alive, and this Brookings book is a good place to begin your reading. In Milwaukee, several formerly upscale shopping centers close to "the inner city" have fallen on hard times, starting with Capitol Court (demolished), Northridge (at one time the largest enclosed mall in the Milwaukee area, now mostly empty), and Mayfair (getting a reputation as a dangerous place). The topic of residential segregation remains one for extensive research and reflection. The new research suggests there's more than one way to measure it.

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