Rise in Racial Segregation Revealed in Report on San Francisco Bay Area

When I first arrived in Marin County in 1995 to start my life here I recall saying to a friend – ‘wow this place reminds of Apartheid South Africa.’ Over that bridge is Johannesburg (whites only) and over that bridge is Soweto (black people only.) It was then that I decided to join the board of Fair Housing of Marin. I was VP on that Board for several years. I wanted to participate in understanding why this great America presented itself in this way – to an immigrant from South Africa. Of course I have learned a lot. It is all rooted in shameful history and yet persists! The organization, now named Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, have their work cut out for them, as they perform the critical job of upholding the Fair Housing laws in this region, to include legal action for tenants, testing landlords for discrimination, and much needed awareness and education. Their annual conference presented this very picture as still prevalent, if not worse, some 23 years after I moved here!

Notably this past year’s annual conference hosted Haas Institute speaker, Stephen Menendian. Haas institute has now released the 3rd Report, in a series, measuring segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Authored by Menendian and Samir Gambhir, this series investigates the persistent problem of racial residential segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area by applying novel research methods and fresh analytical tools to better understand the extent and nature of the problem.

The first research brief in this series described patterns of segregation in the Bay Area using a relatively new measure of segregation and illustrated these patterns using the first-ever maps of the region, counties, and major metropolitan areas with that measure. The second brief in this series examined the demographic patterns that lay behind the reality of segregation. It explored the contemporary patterns of residential settlement by race and examined changes in those patterns over time.

The main findings are that the San Francisco Bay Area remains segregated more than 50 years after the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act. In fact, most counties in the region are more segregated today than they were in 1980, despite reduction in segregation between particular racial groups.

Disaggregating the data, they note that even as Black-white and Black-Latino dissimilarity scores have fallen, Asian-white and Latino-white dissimilarity scores have risen, quite significantly in some cases. Nonetheless, Black-white segregation remains the highest, even if the trends are worse in other cases.  This is one of their most important findings.

The Isolation Index shows that despite some degree of integration by members of racial groups (there are far fewer racially homogeneous neighborhoods), the typical member of a racial group still resides in a demographically isolated context.

Contrary to the usual story told by falling dissimilarity scores, the Divergence Index paints a portrait of a region that is marked by persistent—and generally rising—levels of segregation. The Divergence Index shows that seven of the nine counties in the Bay Area have higher levels of segregation as of 2010 than they did in 1980. Some counties, such as Napa, Sonoma, and Marin, are dramatically more segregated than they were in 1980.

Via the HAAS website:

Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area, Part 3 – Measuring Segregation

In this third brief, we shift the discussion to a more technical, but no less important, matter: the measurement of segregation. As we emphasized throughout this series, racial segregation is not the same thing as racial demographics. Too often, maps of racial demographics are used as a substitute for mapping segregation itself.1 In an increasingly multiracial and multiethnic society, where the presence of any particular racial or ethnic subgroup may range from small to substantial, no single demographic map can adequately represent segregation itself. Segregation is relational, dependent on the overall demography of the region examined.2 Racial diversity can mask or obscure the persistence or degree of racial segregation, especially for particular marginalized groups. As we demonstrated in Part 1, there are ways to measure and map segregation directly.

In addition to the inherent complexities of measuring segregation in an era of demographic diversity, the concept of segregation itself is multifaceted. Segregation can appear on a map like a yin-yang symbol, with large swaths of a region dominated by a particular racial group, or like a checkerboard, with racially homogeneous neighborhoods and communities clustered separately across a racially diverse region. Although substantial numbers of particular racial groups may now live in integrated neighborhoods, the average member of those groups may nonetheless remain segregated. Separate and distinct measures are needed to analyze these different realities. READ FULL REPORT …HERE: https://haasinstitute.berkeley.edu/racial-segregation-san-francisco-bay-area-part-3


April 1, 2019 Conference Updates- “Understanding Housing Segregation: Tools to Advance Access and Opportunity”
For those of you who attended our recent conference, as well as those who didn’t have a chance to come: all videos, presentations, photographs, and biographies of the keynote speakers and panelists can now be viewed on the conference page of our website! VISIT: HERE


Advocacy: African Human Rights Coalition
Speaker: http://www.melnathan.com
Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1
Instagram: @commissionermelnathan

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