Equity Metrics

Racial Segregation Research

Segregation is one of the most intractable problems in the US. Social science literature has highlighted the existence and level of segregation within our communities, whereas on-the-ground realities have displayed the harms that it has produced. Segregation is so entrenched in our society that even more than 60 years after the Supreme Court’s decision on the Brown v. Board of Education case, our neighborhoods and schools have made little progress in substantially advancing integration. While segregation has its roots in historical public policy and private actions, the Equity Metrics team is interested in measuring and analyzing current levels of segregation and proposing policy solutions to address these issues and promote integration.

Some of the completed and ongoing projects in this area are:

  • Segregation in the Bay area: Given the seriousness of the problem of racial segregation as a cause of racial inequality and the complexities in understanding the nature of this problem, the Institute launched a series of briefs that attempts to illuminate these patterns and demystify the reality of segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • U.S. Segregation research: We extend our exploratory research on studying racial residential segregation in the Bay area to the entire nation. The goal of this project is to provide a landscape of segregation at the neighborhood level for conterminous U.S. using an available  set of measures that have wide acceptance in social science literature. Additionally, we provide anecdotes for selected segregated and integrated cities to highlight potential reasons and impacts.
  • Analyzing Belonging in our Neighborhoods (ongoing): In collaboration with RAND Corporation and Charles Kamasaki @ UNIDOS, this project is a four-phase study to characterize how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted racial/ethnic minority populations (Black and LatinX populations primarily), and to identify and describe how neighborhood characteristics and approaches that promote belonging and inclusion may help to mitigate these differential impacts. Our approach combines national-level survey analysis with local-level research and applies the lens of racial segregation as an analytical framework to address disparities and explore belonging as an essential element of the solution.