NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Harvard's 'Resegregation' Thesis Found to be Distorted

February 5, 2003

The Harvard University Civil Rights Project recently issued a study purporting to show the U.S. is undergoing "resegregation." But other studies reach exactly the opposite conclusion.

  • A Brookings Institution paper, "Racial Segregation in the 2000 Census: Promising News," finds segregation levels are "at their lowest point since roughly 1920."
  • The 2000 census, it adds, shows that "for the third straight decade, segregation between blacks and non-blacks across American metropolitan areas has declined dramatically."
  • Black high school graduation rates have improved over the past two decades -- which has led to better jobs, presenting blacks with the opportunity to escape inner-cities and dwell in, and attend schools in, the suburbs.

The Wall Street Journal notes editorially the Harvard study lumped blacks and Hispanics in inner-cities into a single "non-white" category, which can distort results. Large numbers of Latino immigrants -- a minority with particularly large amounts of children -- have come into cities, leading the Harvard researchers to conclude erroneously that inner-city schools were being "resegregated."

Source: Editorial, "School Colors," Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2003.

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