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OCTOBER 30, 2019

BERKELEY, CA: Residents of highly-segregated Black and Latinx neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area experience vastly poorer life outcomes than residents of white neighborhoods in income, housing equity, educational attainment, and life expectancy, according to new research published Wednesday by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley.

The results of the study, published as the fourth installment of the Institute’s Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area report series, were consistent with previous literature that demonstrates the harmful effects of racial residential segregation by separating people from opportunity.

The study compared metrics between three types of neighborhoods: 1. highly segregated Black and/or Latinx neighborhoods; 2. highly segregated white neighborhoods; and 3. low segregation/relatively integrated neighborhoods.

The study measures two types of data: 1. Current-day characteristics of neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area (such as home values, income, student outcomes), and 2. the 2015 outcomes of adults by the level of segregation they faced as children in 1990. It includes data from all of the San Francisco Bay Area’s nine counties. The data sets used for our study were provided by Opportunity Insights.

Some of the key findings are that:

  • In highly segregated Black or Latinx neighborhoods, the report found that household income is about $17,000 less per year, and homes are valued at $37,000 less, on average, compared to relatively integrated neighborhoods.
  • While people residing in highly segregated Black and Latinx neighborhoods were found to have about the same level of employment as residents of highly segregated white neighborhoods, their income levels were only about 39 percent of those of residents of the white neighborhoods.
  • The average household income in white neighborhoods was $123,701, versus $48,843 in Black and Latinx neighborhoods.
  • The home values in white neighborhoods averaged about $899,765, versus $440,620 for the homes in Black and Latinx neighborhoods.
  • As far as educational attainment, adults in highly segregated Black and Latinx neighborhoods are only 25 percent as likely to have bachelors’ degrees as adults in white neighborhoods.
  • For children, only one-third of fourth graders in highly segregated Black and Latinx neighborhoods tested as proficient in math and reading, compared to 70 percent of their counterparts in white neighborhoods.
  • When it came to measures for health, the report found that life expectancy is more than five years greater in white neighborhoods (84 years) than in highly segregated Black and Latinx neighborhoods (79 years).

It is crucial to note that internal testing on the effects of highly segregated neighborhoods, whether they be white or Black/Latinx, revealed that the differences in life outcomes were consistent for all racial groups inside those neighborhoods.

In other words, a white person living in a highly segregated Black or Latinx neighborhood experienced the same average levels of poverty, educational attainment, income, home value, and life expectancy as that person’s neighbors of a different race.

Similarly, the positive life outcomes associated with highly segregated white neighborhoods, including lower rates of poverty, higher home values, and greater educational attainment, were experienced by all residents, irrespective of race.

Consistent with the results of other studies on segregation, our report shows that racial segregation in the Bay Area, like the rest of the country, accompanies a hoarding of resources by some communities at the expense of others, namely communities of color.

The report includes several interactive graphs that aid in communicating the results of the report in a quick, adjustable, and easy-to-read interface.

The next and final installment of the Haas Institute’s segregation report series will describe what can be done about racial residential segregation through policy to facilitate greater integration.

Media Contact
Marc Abizeid