Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Pew: Over Three Decades, Residential Segregation By Income Has Increased

A new analysis released today finds that residential segregation by income is rising in United States.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The Pew Research Center studied Census figures for the 30 largest metropolitan areas. Director Paul Taylor says economic segregation is up in all but three.

"'That is to say upper income people are now more likely than they used to be to live in neighborhoods that are predominantly upper income,' Taylor said. 'Lower income people, more likely to live in predominantly lower income neighborhoods.'

"Taylor says this divide rose steadily over three decades of increasing income inequality. Neither the housing bubble, nor the recession, seemed to have undue impact. And it happened as RACIAL housing segregation was going down. Still, Pew finds most American neighborhoods remain mixed, and middle income."

Just so you have an idea of what kind of change we're talking about, we'll point out some numbers. In 1980, 23 percent of lower income households were living among themselves. That number went up to 28. In 1980, 9 percent of upper income households lived among themselves. In 2010, that number jumped to 18 percent.

A few other interesting tidbits:

-- The New York City metro area is the most likely to have the lower income living among themselves.

-- Houston is the most likely to have the higher income living among themselves.

-- Houston saw the biggest rise in income segregation since 1980. It is followed by Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Content