NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Harvard Study Sees School Segregation Increasing

July 18, 2001

American schools became more racially segregated during the 1990s, according to Harvard University researchers Gary Orfield and Nora Gordon. Schools in the South are the most integrated, they found. New York has the most segregated schools, with the fewest black students attending majority white schools and the highest level of "intense segregation" among Hispanic students.

  • Whites on average attend schools where less than 20 percent of the students are from other racial and ethnic groups.
  • Blacks and Latinos attend schools with 53 percent to 55 percent students of their own group.
  • States in the South and West have far higher concentrations of nonwhite students than the rest of the nation.
  • The West is the only region where Hispanic students outnumber blacks -- with four Hispanic students for every African-American student.

Whites comprised 81 percent of the student population in 1968 -- dropping to just 63 percent in 1998. Between 1968 and 1998, the number of black and Latino students in the nation's public schools increased by 5.8 million -- while the number of white students declined by 5.6 million, according to the study.

Source: Robert Stacy McCain, "Study: Segregation Is Developing in U.S. Schools Again," Washington Times, July 18, 2001; based on Gary Orfield with Nora Gordon, "Schools More Separate: Consequences of a Decade of Resegregation," July 2001, Harvard Civil Rights Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Browse more articles on Education Issues