Study finds that white families live in less diverse areas

Despite a steady decline in neighborhood segregation in the United States since the 1970s, a new study conducted by a USC professor shows that white families with children typically live in less diverse areas than other racial groups, which could lead to damaging effects on their racial perceptions of race.

Katlyn Lee | Daily Trojan
Source: 2010 U.S. Census data and 2009-2010 National Center for Education Statistics data

Ann Owens, an assistant professor in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, analyzed census data from 100 different cities to observe segregation in neighborhoods, finding that white children are exposed to slightly fewer minorities in their communities compared to white adults.

The study also discovered that school district boundaries play a major role in where families decide to locate, and that white families often choose where they live based on the racial makeup of local schools.

“White parents may be avoiding school districts where black and Latino children live because they use racial composition as a proxy for quality of a school and a neighborhood,” Owens said in an interview with USC News.

The implications of this study are far-reaching, Owens claims because children’ exposure to minorities influences their lives on a broad scale.

“A lack of diversity could have a significant effect on the development of their racial attitudes and future education and employment,” Owens said.

This higher rate of neighborhood segregation among white children also has significant effects on minority children, the study found. Prior research shows that low-income minority children tend to fall behind in educational and financial well-being when they live in segregated areas, and thus attend less integrated schools.

Los Angeles in particular suffers from segregation more than other similar cities, according to the study. In Miami, which has a similar demographic composition, schools and neighborhoods are significantly less segregated. The study suggested that this is likely because Miami has only one school district and parents are less concerned about which neighborhoods they live in, whereas Los Angeles’ school system is more fragmented and attendance largely depends on location.

8 replies
  1. Matthew Robinson
    Matthew Robinson says:

    For all you clowns getting mad at Daily Trojan writer Matt Ross for writing this article y’all need to shut up and you guys didn’t really understand or comprehend the article.

    I know where Ross is coming from and where this article is coming from. My brother told me a few years back and it’s something I’ll NEVER forget. And it is, “When white people feel threatened (be it crime, prevalence of minorities, and other threats) they move far away or insulate themselves around their own people.”

    This article goes along with what my brother said. Ross pointed out that many white parents in LA don’t want their kids going to school with Black and Latino kids, and in turn their kids miss out on diversity and learning about cultures other than their own.

    Look at the showbiz industry. Hollywood is chock full of white males and females in the directing, producing, writing, and studio heads professions, who grew up in white-dominated neighborhoods and had parents that weren’t interested in culturing them from childhood up until they left home for college. And in turn those same showbiz white male and females don’t know how to write for, produce for, or understand the Black, Latino, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and other ethnic group’s cultures.

    It’s cycle that begins at home. White people need to stop that racial segregation crap with that suburban living insularity. because it aint helping NOBODY, especially their own kids.

  2. Magnum P.I.
    Magnum P.I. says:

    Completely irresponsible writing. I edited far better articles from freshmen in high school. To pose this as white people avoiding black people based on racial preference is absurd. This is an issue of school choice for the disadvantaged and de facto segregation because of bad policy for the least fortunate among us. I never would run this piece if I was an editor with a semblance of credibility. Minorities have bad outcomes because they are forced to go to bad schools in bad areas, something I understand as a minority from south Chicago but something a privileged USC writer who can afford an extremely high tuition wouldn’t understand.

    • Matthew Robinson
      Matthew Robinson says:

      You need to wake up bruh. White people for decades behind closed doors and in public having doing what Ross pointed out in this article.

      And trust me. Los Angeles County is very segregated. The haves out here don’t want NOTHING to do with broke folks, bums, and other low-income people if they don’t have to even if it’s in philanthropic endeavors.

      Latinos (even the Americanized ones) in LA are VERY insulated in their own culture and race and want to be around they own people 24/7. Indians and Pakistani’s in LA want to be around they own people. Asians in LA don’t really want to have nothing to do with people outside they race, unless you buying products at they stores. Same with Armenians and other ethnic groups.

      Segregation can go both ways. There’s even Blacks out here that don’t even like being around certain Blacks. West Los Angeles Blacks look down they nose at Blacks in the South Central Los Angeles area ALL THE TIME.

  3. Sheng Long
    Sheng Long says:

    It seems “OTHER” makes up a decent chunk of those pie graphs and I assume OTHER isn’t white. So why are people coming to the conclusion that white kids are not interacting with minorities?

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