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March 29th, 2011 By | News | Posted In: News, Community, Urban Planning, Neighborhoods

Still Separated by Race


In at least one important aspect, Greater Cincinnati hasn't changed much during the past decade.

Data from the 2010 U.S. Census shows the region is the eighth-most racially segregated metropolitan area in the nation, the same ranking it held after the 2000 count.

Greater Cincinnati's “dissimilarity rating” is 69.42 percent, according to the most recent figures. It was 74.2 percent in the 2000 Census, which indicates a minor improvement.

The rating is a demographic measurement of the evenness with which two racial or ethnic groups are distributed across the component geographic areas that make up a larger region. Such indices are often used to measure inequality by statisticians. The higher the rating, the more unequal the distribution.

Under the current figures, it means more than two out of every three African-Americans would have to move to predominantly white neighborhoods to create a more balanced mixture. In 2000, it was nearly three out of every four blacks.

Milwaukee ranks as the most racially-segregated city in the United States, the data indicates, with an 81.52 percent rating.

The Queen City falls between Philadelphia at No. 9 (68.41 percent) and St. Louis at No. 7 (72.3 percent). Cleveland ranks as No. 5 (74.14 percent).

Detroit, which was the most racially-segregated city in 2000 (No. 1, with an 84 percent rating) is now No. 4, with a 75.25 percent rating.

Salon.com did an overview of the 10 most segregated cities, and interviewed University of Cincinnati historian David Stradling, author of Cincinnati: From River City to Highway Metropolis.

"There are so many places where whites will try to flee the problems of the city, including the problem of diversity," Stradling told Salon. "Obviously the No. 1 cause of this is, of course, simply racism. There's racism that works through the white family who makes the decision to either defend against the arrival of black families or simply flee and give up the defense. Either of those strategies doesn't help as far as desegregation is concerned."

Stradling sees the problem getting worse under Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

"Right now, we've got a pretty reactionary governor," he said. "And he's not interested in the urban core. There are a lot of places growing in Ohio, but the problem is how they grow at the expense of other parts of Ohio. I see years of expanded highway spending, and not spending in the urban core."

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