A recent report by the Manhattan Institute concludes that American cities are now more integrated than they have been in a century. According to the report, all-white neighborhoods are effectively extinct, and while segregated neighborhoods racked with poverty persist, they are in decline.
Undeniably, our nation has made historic strides towards residential integration. Credit for this progress belongs to civic leaders, neighbors, and people of good will from every background throughout the nation. Their often hard-won struggles led to the enactment of a series of federal civil rights laws, including the Fair Housing Act in 1968, whose enforcement by the federal government, state and local civil rights agencies, private non-profit fair housing councils, and, increasingly, the real estate industry itself, has opened previously segregated neighborhoods.
But it is premature to declare victory and pronounce that it is time to move on. The Manhattan Institute report acknowledges that progress has been slow. Daily, we see the pervasive impact of segregation in the United States, particularly for black families with children. The 2010 Census reveals that the average black child lives in a neighborhood that is two-thirds minority. About a third of black children, and nearly 45 percent of Hispanic children, live in neighborhoods that are highly segregated — more than 80 percent non-white.