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Sharing America’s Neighborhoods

Sharing America’s Neighborhoods

The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration

Ingrid Gould Ellen

ISBN 9780674003019

Publication date: 01/08/2001

The first part of this book presents a fresh and encouraging report on the state of racial integration in America's neighborhoods. It shows that while the majority are indeed racially segregated, a substantial and growing number are integrated, and remain so for years.

Still, many integrated neighborhoods do unravel quickly, and the second part of the book explores the root causes. Instead of panic and "white flight" causing the rapid breakdown of racially integrated neighborhoods, the author argues, contemporary racial change is driven primarily by the decision of white households not to move into integrated neighborhoods when they are moving for reasons unrelated to race. Such "white avoidance" is largely based on the assumptions that integrated neighborhoods quickly become all black and that the quality of life in them declines as a result.

The author concludes that while this explanation may be less troubling than the more common focus on racial hatred and white flight, there is still a good case for modest government intervention to promote the stability of racially integrated neighborhoods. The final chapter offers some guidelines for policymakers to follow in crafting effective policies.


  • Sharing America's Neighborhoods represents the most thorough, sophisticated, and comprehensive statistical analysis of neighborhood racial stability and transition that has ever been produced. Ellen challenges the conventional wisdom about 'white flight' and presents a fundamentally optimistic message about integration. It is a message that needs to be heard now.

    —George Galster, Wayne State University


  • Ingrid Gould Ellen is Assistant Professor, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University.

Book Details

  • 240 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press