Flickr photo by OldOnliner
A new report by Kendra Bischoff and Sean Reardon for the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University found that, as a likely consequence of widening American income inequality, fewer and fewer Americans live in urban middle-class neighborhoods and urban communities are instead increasingly polarized into rich and poor neighborhoods. They call this increased “income segregation” or “family income segregation.” Their report studies 117 metropolitan areas with a population of 500,000 or more in 2007 and examines these patterns at the census tract level, covering roughly two thirds of the US population.
This is bad news for the opportunity to build bridging social capital (social ties across race or social class), bad for building any sense that we’re all in this together, and by insulating the rich increasingly from the poor, makes it less likely that the rich will want to take action to help the poor (in the same way as the rich become less interested in public education investment if they send their kids to private schools or become less interested in safe streets if they live in a gated community with a private police force). This research shows how children are less likely to grow up socializing with and playing with children of other socio-economic backgrounds, especially in an era where mandatory school-busing has come under attack.
These trends are all prior to the 2008 great recession, so it is impossible until 2013 to know whether that exacerbated these patterns or ameliorated them somewhat, and even then we probably won’t know about specific neighborhoods.
Bischoff points out that these segregation indices would change during the recession only if foreclosures or job losses force people to move, then income segregation could change. For instance, if low- and moderate- income families need to move to lower-income neighborhoods, urban residential segregation would increase (more clustering). Alternatively, if middle income families lose income, but remain in their homes (or neighborhoods), then residential income segregation would decrease as neighborhoods as increased family income volatility leads neighborhoods to become more diverse in income terms. The American Community Survey may never be able to resolve what happened at low levels of geography.
As overall income inequality grew in the last four decades, high- and low-income families have become increasingly less likely to live near one another. Mixed income neighborhoods have grown rarer, while affluent and poor neighborhoods have grown much more common. In fact, the share of the population in large and moderate-sized metropolitan areas who live in the poorest and most affluent neighborhoods has more than doubled since 1970, while the share of families living in middle-income neighborhoods dropped from 65 percent to 44 percent. The residential isolation of the both poor and affluent families has grown over the last four decades, though affluent families have been generally more residentially isolated than poor families during this period. Income segregation among African Americans and Hispanics grew more rapidly than among non-Hispanic whites, especially since 2000. These trends are consequential because people are affected by the character of the local areas in which they live. The increasing concentration of income and wealth (and therefore of resources such as schools, parks, and public services) in a small number of neighborhoods results in greater disadvantages for the remaining neighborhoods where low- and middle-income families live.
Key findings, based on Census American Community Survey data:
- From 2000 to 2007, family income segregation grew significantly in almost all metropolitan areas (in 89 percent of the large and moderate-sized metropolitan areas). This extends a trend over the period 1970-2000 during which income segregation grew dramatically. In 1970 only 15 percent of families were in neighborhoods that we classify as either affluent (neighborhoods where median incomes were greater than 150 percent of median income in their metropolitan areas) or poor (neighborhoods where median incomes were less than 67 percent of metropolitan median income). By 2007, 31 percent of families lived in such
- The affluent are more segregated from other Americans than the poor are. That is, high-income families are much less likely to live in neighborhoods with middle- and low-income families than low-income families are to live in neighborhoods with middle- and high-income families. This has been true for the last 40 years.
- Income segregation among black and Hispanic families increased much more than did income segregation among white families from 1970 to 2007. Notably, income segregation among black and Hispanic families grew very sharply from 2000 to 2007. Income segregation among black and Hispanic families is now much higher than among white families.
Read “Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, 1970-2009” (Sean Reardon, Kendra Bischoff).
See NY Times story, “Middle-Class Areas Shrink as Income Gap Grows, New Report Finds” (11/16/11, by Sabrina Tavernise) which also shows this pattern for Philadelphia, which showed the biggest increase in income segregation over this period as well as the overall decline in middle-class neighborhoods and the rise of poor neighborhoods.
See earlier blog post: “Stalled upward social mobility in the US”
See somewhat related post by Liberty Street Economics (the blog of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) that shows both that median wages were growing fastest in the high-skilled occupations, and also that job growth was fastest in both the high-skilled and low-skilled occupations and slowest in middle-class job occupation.
Posted in affluent, America, American Community Survey, brown university, census, class segregation, family income segregation, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, income segregation, Jaison Abel, Kendra Bischoff, Liberty Street Economics, middle class, neighborhood, Philadelphia, residential segregation, rich, Richard Deitz, RSF, Russell Sage Foundation, Sabrina Tavernise, Sean Reardon, segregation, Stanford, united states, upper class, US
Tagged affluent, america, American Community Survey, brown university, census, class segregation, family income segregation, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, income segregation, Jaison Abel, Kendra Bischoff, Liberty Street Economics, middle class, neighborhood, Philadelphia, residential segregation, rich, Richard Deitz, RSF, Russell Sage Foundation, Sabrina Tavernise, Sean Reardon, segregation, Stanford, united states, upper class, US
Flickr photo by moominsean
CNN reports the projected extinction of western religion.
A few major caveats:
1) The underlying paper on which this report is based only focuses on Western Europe (which has seen rising rates of secularization much faster than in the US). While rates of “nonery” (those saying “none” to a question of what their religious tradition is) have risen dramatically in the US (see “American Grace“), most of these “nones” still actually believe in God, they just haven’t found the right church; and
2) Relatedly, these projections assume that people flip to be “secular” to mirror the populations around them, but assumes that the religious environment itself doesn’t change to attract these seculars. U.S. history is rife with examples of religious entrepreneurship — religious leaders inventing or reinventing religion to meet changed needs. “American Grace” in Chapter 6 discusses a host of these like megachurches, Mormonism, circuit riders, the chapel car, cyber- religion, televangelism, etc.
Excerpt from “American Grace“:
In the nineteenth century, the American frontie4r presented a problem for religious leaders. People, especially young people, were spread out in far-flung communities, many of which were too new to have churches. And so both Protestant ministers and catholic priests came up with an ingenious solution — the chapel car. Clergy would use these train cars repurposed into mini-chapels to travel from town to town, holding services for the otherwise unchurched settlers on the frontier. They are largely forgotten today, but in their day chapel cars represented the state of the art in bringing religion to remote areas.
The paper by Abrams et. al, summarized in the CNN story, ignores this entrepreneurship and assumes that religious leaders and entrepreneurs will sit idly by and watch their denominations dwindle rather than invent new ways of helping to attract new converts. This seems extremely short-sided in making predictions of the future.
The quote from Peter Berger at the end of the CNN story is telling.
Peter Berger, a former president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, once said that, “People will become so bored with what religious groups have to offer that they will look elsewhere.”
He said Protestantism “has reached the strange state of self-liquidation,” that Catholicism was in severe crisis, and anticipated that “religions are likely to survive in small enclaves and pockets” in the United States.
He made those predictions in February 1968.
Obviously Berger’s prediction hasn’t materialized.
For more detail, see paper by Daniel Abrams, Richard Wiener and Haley A. Yaple called “A mathematical model of social group competition with application to the growth of religious non-affiliation,”presented it this week at the Dallas meeting of the American Physical Society.
For more blog posts on “American Grace”, visit here.
Posted in american grace, chapel car, CNN, Daniel Abrams, david campbell, europe, extinction, god, Haley Yaple, innovation, Mormonism, nones, Peter Berger, religion, religiosity, Richard Wiener, robert putnam, televangelism, united states, youth
Tagged american grace, chapel car, CNN, Daniel Abrams, david campbell, europe, extinction, God, Haley Yaple, innovation, Mormonism, nones, Peter Berger, religion, religiosity, Richard Wiener, robert putnam, televangelism, united states, youth
- Obama ’08 (photo by beebo wallace)
Harvard and Manchester through the SCHMi collaboration released their findings about whether a British Obama is possible. Broadly we found that substantial generational patterns of increased tolerance in both Britain and the U.S., whether related to attitudes towards a black boss or intermarriage or towards black politicians (in the US). Robert Putnam (Harvard Professor and visiting professor at Univ. of Manchester) noted that: “Change is taking a similar form on both sides of the Atlantic: exactly as in the US, the generation of Britons uncomfortable with non-whites in positions of power or intimacy is gradually dying off, and being replaced by its more tolerant offspring….It is fair to add, however, that the smaller minority population in the UK, as well as the much shallower pool of black politicians and the more centralised political recruitment paths, still tends to work against black representation in Britain.”
There is an interesting article on these findings by Allegra Stratton “Britain ready for black prime minister” in today’s Guardian and in-depth piece called “Mixed Blessing” and an editorial “Geography of Race” by co-author of the forthcoming book Age of Obama, Tom Clark.
In addition, the BBC aired several pieces on the story (“Black prime minister likely to take decades” and Robert Putnam interview with the BBC).
One can find the underlying scholarly papers (on which the report draws) and a sample chapter of the book Age of Obama here.
Press release on this topic available here.
Social Change: a Harvard-Manchester Initiative (SCHMi) is a collaboration of Harvard University and the University of Manchester that seeks to understand the complex consequences of big societal changes, like the Industrial Revolution or the civil rights revolution, which require careful inter-disciplinary research to identify ways to maximize social benefits and minimize social costs. Much as the sharp declines in life expectancy in the train of the Industrial Revolution in the later 1800s spawned empirical research that uncovered the importance of clean water and sanitation and ultimately reversed the adverse health effects, so too SCHMi aims to spur careful research on large-scale social issues today and thus to foster social progress. Transatlantic comparison and transatlantic learning have long been pivotal to such efforts.
One objective of the SCHMi collaboration is to produce roughly annually a book or report for the informed public, comparing and contrasting the US and UK experiences on some major social issue. The first project, nearing now completion, is on diversity/immigration. We anticipate future reports on religion and public life, and on inequality. The fourth and final topic has not yet been determined, but will likely be either the social consequences of technology or the changing workplace.
Diversity is a critically important subject. In the opening decade of the 21st century immigration and racial diversity are high on both countries’ agendas, for both are undergoing rapid demographic change. But their starting points and trajectories are different, and the policy debates, while intertwined transatlantically, are also different. The Age of Obama (to come out in Fall 2009) compares the social, economic, demographic, and political consequences of immigration and racial diversity in the US and the UK. The work is unusually timely because many are now wondering whether there could be a British Obama.
The Age of Obama is written by Tom Clark, an experienced writer for The Guardian, and builds on substantive contributions from Professors Waters (Harvard), Fieldhouse (Manchester), Peach (Manchester-Oxford), Yaojun Li (Manchester), Daniel Hopkins (post-doc, Harvard Govt. Dept.), and Rob Ford (post-doc, Manchester sociology) with overall project direction being provided by Robert Putnam.
- The underlying chapters are:1. Comparing Immigrant Integration in the US and the UK (based on research by Mary Waters)2. Ethnic and Racial Segregation in the US and Britain (based on research by Ceri Peach)3. Immigration and neighborhood diversity in the U.K. and the U.S. Does diversity damage social capital? (based on research by Ed Fieldhouse and David Cutts)4. Socio-economic integration of immigrants in the US and UK (based on research by Yaojun Li)5. How levels of neighborhood immigration influence attitudes towards immigration in the U.S and the U.K and generational changes in the US and UK in attitudes toward race (based on research by Dan Hopkins and Rob Ford).
Posted in african-americans, allegra stratton, Barack Obama, britain, guardian, harvard university, mobility, robert putnam, SCHMi, segregation, tolerance, tom clark, united states, university of manchester