The state of Black-White Segregation in Texas

Last month the Brookings Institution released a set of segregation measures about the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.  This data was based on the 2005-2009 American Community Survey, the census instrument replacing the “long form” census collection.

In Texas, black-white segregation declined from 2000 to 2009, as measured by the index of dissimilarity—which ranges from zero (complete integration) to 100 (complete segregation).  The value indicates the percentage of the minority group that needs to move to be distributed exactly like whites.

Under this measure, McAllen and Houston are the most Black-White segregated MSAs in Texas. McAllen’s index jumped dramatically from 2000, although its small (<1%) African-American population share likely makes its score subject to higher variability than the other MSAs.

Here are the indices for the six largest MSAs in Texas:

Name 2005-9 2000 Change 2009 Black Share
Texas 57 59 -2 11.3
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 63 49 14 0.5
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 61 66 -4 16.5
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 57 60 -2 14.0
Austin-Round Rock, TX 52 52 0 7.2
San Antonio, TX 51 53 -1 6.0
El Paso, TX 37 36 1 2.5

Source: William H. Frey analysis of 2005-9 American Community Survey and 2000 US Census

In addition to the Black/White Segregation Index, the data also included “exposure” measures regarding additional ethnic and racial identities.  The measures look at the composition of the neighborhood of a representative resident of a given demographic.

This data shows, for example that in Austin, the average White-non-Hispanic resident lives in a neighborhood that is only 23% Hispanic, while the average Hispanic resident of the city lives in a neighborhood that is 43% Hispanic.  (The Census bureau estimates 31% of Austin claims Hispanic or Latino heritage).  The difference between these “average neighborhoods” indicates significant White-Non-Hispanic/Hispanic segregation in the city.

Here is the exposure data for the six largest MSAs in Texas:

Source: William H. Frey analysis of 2005-9 American Community Survey and 2000 US Census

Information to ponder as you partake in the Martin Luther King day activites in your area.  His work remains.



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