One of the most interesting reports to come out of the latest U.S. Census was a breakdown of the 10 most segregated major cities in the country. One of the most surprising cities on the list was that great bastion of liberalism and multiculturalism, New York, New York. Also surprising was that the South had only one.
Even more interesting was the fact that of the 10 on the list, seven were in the North and Midwest. I know that has to be surprising to a lot of people, when we tend to think of Southern cities as the ones we expect to have ethnic and racial divides in their housing. But the only city in the Southern part of the country on the list was Miami, Florida.
I have lived in New York City, as well as Philadelphia, another city on this unwanted top 10 list and I can indeed attest to the fact that they are quite segregated, despite their images. Too often people assume because a city like New York or Chicago, because they have so many ethnicities, are automatically places where everybody gets along. Not true at all. From one ethnic neighborhood to another ethnic neighborhood, the lines can be really harsh in some of these metropolitan areas.
Overall given a choice though, I’d still prefer to raise my kids in a city that at least exposes them to many different groups, so the major metro areas still seem the best place for those of us looking for places that support diversity and openness. But what a report like this shows is that we have to look closer than we might expect some times.
To see the surprising list, click here.