RACIALLY SEGREGATED IS
THE BALTIMORE METRO?
RANKS 39TH OF 331 METROS
IN LEVEL OF
A Working Paper by
William P. Kladky, Ph.D., GBCHRB Administrator
December 18, 2001
(c) 2001, GBCHRB
This is one in a series of occasional research
Working Papers written and distributed by the Greater Baltimore
Community Housing Resource Board, Inc. (GBCHRB). The GBCHRB is a
nonprofit organization that provides Fair Housing education, training,
and advocacy; our primary funding is from the Baltimore City and
Baltimore County CDBG Programs. The purpose of these working papers
is educational. The GBCHRB provides these Fair Housing educational
resources as a public service. This paper was written by William
P. Kladky, Ph.D., the GBCHRB's Administrator. A previous version
of this paper was published in the November, 2001, edition of The
Voter, the monthly newsletter of the League of Women Voters
of Baltimore County, Maryland. For more information, background
data/references, or for a free copy of this paper, please contact
Dr. Kladky of the GBCHRB at 410-929-7640 or email@example.com
The Harvard Report on Racial Segregation
A report released in April, 2001, by the
Civil Rights Project at Harvard University found racial residential
segregation was thriving in the US despite the increasing diversity
of the nation's population. In fact, the 2000 Census data found
the nation now is the most racially and ethnically diverse in its
history. The nation has a high level of racial residential segregation,
and the Baltimore metro's level is even higher.
The National Situation
From a national perspective, African-Americans,
Hispanics, and Asians live in much more integrated neighborhoods
than do whites. Across all metro areas, the average white lived
in a neighborhood 80% white, 8% Hispanic, 7% black, and 4% Asian.
Contrasting, the typical black lived in a neighborhood 51% black,
33% white, 12% Hispanic, and 3% Asian. This hardly changed in the
1990s, although whites' average neighborhood was 5% less white and
1% more black than in 1990. This trend has continued for decades.
Whites prefer to live in neighborhoods that are over 90% white,
while minorities of every type prefer much more racially integrated
Specifically, the Harvard University study
found the metros with the most white-black integration were in the
South, and/or in military areas like Norfolk and San Diego. On the
study's "dissimilarity score" - comparing the different racial/ethnic
groups' living patterns vis-a-vis each other - the nation's five
worst were Detroit, Gary, Milwaukee-Waukesha, New York, and Chicago.
The highest ranking Southern city was Miami at 16th (http://mumford1.dyndns.org).
The nation's segregation picture is further
complicated by the wide racial gap within metro residence. Over
70% of whites nationally are now in the suburbs compared to only
40% of blacks. Gary Orfield, co-director of the Harvard project,
commented, "The trends in the 2000 Census should be taken as a warning
that our historic problem of black exclusion is taking on new and
complex dimensions" (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/04/national/04CENS.html).
The Situation in the Baltimore Metro
Of the 331 metro areas in the Harvard study,
the Baltimore MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) - Baltimore City
and the surrounding six counties - ranked 39th. In other words,
the Baltimore metro had the 39th highest level of racial residential
segregation between whites and blacks. The Baltimore area's rating
was 67.9; ratings over 60 were considered "very high" in the study;
it means that "over 60% of the members of one racial group would
need to move to a different tract for the two groups to be equally
These findings agree with previous studies
of the Baltimore area by the Greater Baltimore Community Housing
Resource Board, finding high levels of racial segregation in the
City as well as in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Harford County.
Perhaps even more troubling, the Baltimore metro's national comparative
ranking between 1990 and 2000 increased from 49th to 39th. This
indicates a growing level of racial residential segregation between
whites and blacks in our metro.
What Can - and Should - Be Done
High levels of racial residential segregation
spell trouble on many levels, both near and long-term. for a community.
Raul Yzaguirre, president of the National Council of La Raza, said,
"Perhaps the most dangerous implication of these developments is
how residential segregation reinforces other societal inequalities
to severely limit educational opportunity." Without some type of
interaction, studies show, most people - however well-meaning -
begin thinking and acting toward "the other" in stereotypical ways.
This limits various social and education opportunities, poisons
race and intergroup relations, and reinforces prejudicial and discriminatory
attitudes and behaviors. Recent studies also have shown that metros
that are not seen as harmonious places for various people are bypassed
in company location, skilled worker retention and draw, and subsequent
economic development. In the past year, we have seen various reports
indicating the Baltimore area's relatively lagging performance in
The cure is complex, as cures inevitably
are - and the political agenda is daunting. Much more Fair Housing
education and better enforcement of Fair Housing laws were strongly
recommended by the Harvard study. Additionally, strengthened human
relations efforts can mitigate some of the results. To some extent,
however, residential segregation is an economic problem that needs
an economic solution. Wage disparities, particularly the low minimum
wage and comparative wage unfairness, need to be lessened significantly.
Regional solutions are necessary. More financial subsidies, especially
for families, are needed to increase the level of affordable housing
in all suburban counties.
A Local & Regional Problem, A Local
& Regional Solution
These studies underline the fact that each
jurisdiction in our region has a deteriorating segregation picture.
Moreover, the entire Baltimore region is confronted with this worsening
problem - and the region must work for solutions or face a deteriorating
situation. The impact of increasing racial segregation, declining
racial relations, and worsening intergroup harmony has economic
consequences that affect every jurisdiction in the region. The Analysis
of Impediments to Fair Housing in the Baltimore Metropolitan
Area - prepared by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council in September,
1996 - identified a variety of impediments including discriminatory
practices, a shortage of assisted housing, a lack of affordable
housing, spotty enforcement of laws, negative zoning & land
use policies, and a lack of adequate Fair Housing education. To
make progress, each jurisdiction must work to remove these impediments.
Progress is Slow
progress is slow. Let's just look at zoning & land use as an
example. Two recent studies,
by the Baltimore Regional Partnership and 1000 Friends of Maryland,
found every county in the region - excepting Baltimore County -
projects "significant development outside of designated growth areas."
The result will be the loss of 10,000 acres of farms and forests
in the next 20 years. This type of zoning & land use policy
guarantees the situation will worsen in the future: affordable housing
will lessen, segregation will increase, and the environment will
deteriorate further. Adherence to smart land use varied considerably
several reasons - especially its plans to build around the Liberty
Reservoir - Carroll County was "awarded" nearly failing grades.
A high 58% of the County's residential development in the next two
decades will be outside the designated growth areas. This bespeaks
of a deliberate ignorance of the existence of the areas and the
underlying Smart Growth concept - rather than mere technical violation.
Oppositionally, Baltimore County had a 9.2% projection for units
outside the areas. Furthermore, the County's restrictive agricultural
zoning, with its urban/rural demarcation line established by the
1979 Master Plan, was lauded by the report. Development above the
line is limited to only one house per 50 acres - over twice as restrictive
as any other area jurisdiction. The County's agricultural zoning
permits only one house per 20 acres, and thus greatly limits residential
development. The County, however, is seeking more highway improvements
to serve new housing outside of the growth areas. Activists argue
such funds could be better spent on mass transit projects (Baltimore
Sun, October 10, 2001:1B-4B).
Let's Work Together
In this season of faith and secular holidays,
there is reason to hope. Actions, however, must accompany hope.
Let us hope - and continue to work for - improvement in the level
of residential segregation, affordable housing, and economic equality,
so this decade will be seen as one where progress actually was made
on these tough problems. Please contact the GBCHRB at 410-929-7640 or firstname.lastname@example.org
if you would like to work with us for Fair Housing and community
improvement. We can provide free Fair Housing informational brochures
(in English, Spanish, Korean, and Russian), posters, self-help guides,
and other educational materials. You also can check out our Living
in Baltimore radio show at 6 a.m. on popular "Heaven-600" (600
AM); our Neighborhood Beat cable-TV show broadcast on Channels
8 & 15 in Baltimore City, 71 in Baltimore County, and in Anne
Arundel, Harford, and other counties; or our web site at www.gbchrb.org.
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