Reducing residential segregation is the best way to reduce racial inequality in the United States. African American employment rates, earnings, test scores, even longevity all improve sharply as residential integration increases. Yet far too many participants in our policy and political conversations have come to believe that the battle to integrate America’s cities cannot be won. Richard Sander, Yana Kucheva, and Jonathan Zasloff write that the pessimism surrounding desegregation in housing arises from an inadequate understanding of how segregation has evolved and how policy interventions have already set many metropolitan areas on the path to integration.
Scholars have debated for decades whether America’s fair housing laws are effective. Moving toward Integration provides the most definitive account to date of how those laws were shaped and implemented and why they had a much larger impact in some parts of the country than others. It uses fresh evidence and better analytic tools to show when factors like exclusionary zoning and income differences between blacks and whites pose substantial obstacles to broad integration, and when they do not.
Through its interdisciplinary approach and use of rich new data sources, Moving toward Integration offers the first comprehensive analysis of American housing segregation. It explains why racial segregation has been resilient even in an increasingly diverse and tolerant society, and it demonstrates how public policy can align with demographic trends to achieve broad housing integration within a generation.
By identifying segregation in housing as the central problem holding back the progress of African Americans, the authors diverge from liberal and conservative orthodoxy. This landmark model of scholarship provides powerful lessons for politicians and policy makers who want to create an America that works for everyone.
In Moving toward Integration, the Sander team has produced precisely what America desperately needs: a hard-headed analysis, deeply informed by new empirical data and methodologies, that shows how many metro areas and neighborhoods have been reducing racial segregation and lays out a multi-pronged strategy to finish the job. This highly readable book should become the leading account of how to strengthen the fight against housing segregation, perhaps the largest remaining barrier to racial equality.
Housing segregation of low-income African Americans is the great unfinished business of the civil rights movement, depriving too many of our fellow citizens access to good schools and jobs. Richard Sander, Yana Kucheva, and Jonathan Zasloff provide a brilliant mix of sweeping history, insightful social science, and compelling policy proposals. On a topic that can be deeply discouraging, this splendid book left me genuinely optimistic about a path forward.
Professors Sander, Kucheva, and Zasloff skillfully analyze the historic data from 1865 to the present day, proving that racial integration has an enormously powerful effect on lifting people out of poverty. They show that today, with very moderate and non-coercive governmental guidance, pockets of high segregation could be broken up, with potentially huge gains in increasing equality of opportunity and poverty reduction. Their analysis provides the foundation for a bipartisan anti-poverty, pro-opportunity agenda that every American, Democrat and Republican, can champion.
Moving toward Integration forcefully argues that unraveling residential segregation is the key to reducing racial inequality—and that, contrary to the prevailing pessimism, integration can be achieved. Pairing their deep knowledge of legal history with a new analysis of household-level mobility and residential locations, the authors document the striking achievements of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, countering the narrative that policy support for integration has been toothless or a failure. Going forward, the combination of changing demographics and targeted policy can move us incrementally—but meaningfully—toward integration.
- 608 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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