«AmericAn neighborhoods: inclusion And exclusion Volume 16, Number 3 • 2014 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development | Office of Policy ...»
Neighborhood Race and Ethnicity Taken as a whole, the neighborhoods identified by applicants during the first 3 years of Choice contain a racially and ethnically diverse population. The largest percentage of the population is Black (48 percent), but with substantial percentages of White (23 percent) and Hispanic (22 percent). The remainder of the overall population of applicant neighborhoods is Asian and Pacific Islander (4 percent), American Indian (2 percent), and other (2 percent). The overrepresentation of the Black population in Choice applicant neighborhoods relative to the national population is consistent with the historic concentration of Black residents in subsidized housing (see Goetz, 2013: 112–114). Any project that targets subsidized housing will necessarily have a higher effect on the Black population.
Changes in neighborhood population are correlated with differences in citywide economic conditions. For example, for declining neighborhoods citywide, median household incomes fell by an average of 6.3 percent between 1990 and 2010 but, for growing neighborhoods citywide, they increased by an average of 3.1 percent. Median household incomes in both declining and growing neighborhoods increased 1 percent during this same period.
Categorizing the proposed neighborhoods based on which racial or ethnic group represented a majority of the neighborhood’s population reveals that, while the aggregate population for all neighborhoods is of mixed races and ethnicities, most neighborhoods are anything but mixed. Of the 176 neighborhoods, 13 (7 percent) have majority White populations and 163 (93 percent) have predominantly minority populations. A portion of the predominantly minority neighborhoods (49 neighborhoods, 30 percent of predominantly minority neighborhoods) have a mix of racial and ethnic groups with no single group constituting the majority of the population in that neighborhood. The exact mix within these neighborhoods varies, with some having as much as 49 percent of the population being Black, White, or Hispanic. In the rest of the predominantly minority neighborhoods (114 neighborhoods, 65 percent), a single racial or ethnic group comprises most of the neighborhood’s population. Within this subset, 79 applicant neighborhoods (69 percent) are majority Black, 29 neighborhoods (25 percent) are majority Hispanic, and 3 neighborhoods (2.6 percent) each are majority Asian and Pacific Islander and American Indian. Exhibit 1 shows the average percentage of race or ethnicity in applicant neighborhoods overall, categorized by majority racial or ethnic group.
When the Choice applicant neighborhoods are grouped based on the neighborhood’s majority racial or ethnic population, quite a different picture emerges than that of the aggregate. Although the mixed neighborhoods are relatively diverse, most neighborhoods have high concentrations of
a single racial or ethnic group. Residents of these neighborhoods that hold the majority racial or ethnic group are highly isolated and have very low exposure to individuals of other racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The highest concentrations of isolated racial or ethnic groups are found in American Indian neighborhoods, where 90 percent of the population on average is American Indian. This statistic is based on a small sample size (3) of neighborhoods that have small, rural populations associated with American Indian reservations. Majority Black neighborhoods are also very highly concentrated. In these neighborhoods, on average, 81 percent of the population is Black. In one-third (27) of majority Black neighborhoods, 90 percent or more of the population is Black. In more than two-thirds (55), 80 percent or more of the population is Black. Other racial and ethnic groups are slightly less concentrated. Asian and Pacific Islander populations comprise 73 percent of the population in majority Asian and Pacific Islander neighborhoods. As with majority American Indian neighborhoods, the sample size is small (3). In majority Hispanic neighborhoods, on average, 67 percent of the population is Hispanic. Four (13 percent) of these neighborhoods are more than 80 percent Hispanic.
In majority White neighborhoods, on average, 76 percent of the population is White. One-half of these neighborhoods (6) are more than 80 percent White.
With the exception of the mixed neighborhoods, racial or ethnic minorities living in Choice applicant neighborhoods are considerably more isolated than individuals of the same racial or ethnic group living in an average U.S. neighborhood. Logan and Stults’s (2011) review of 2010 U.S. census data showed that the average Black individual lives in a neighborhood that is 45 percent Black, the average Hispanic individual lives in a neighborhood that is 46 percent Hispanic, and the average Asian individual lives in a neighborhood that is only 22 percent Asian. These numbers stand in stark contrast to those described previously. Only majority White applicant neighborhoods are more diverse than their national counterparts, which are 75 percent White on average.
Over time, the population composition of applicant neighborhoods has changed, altering the racial and ethnic makeup of some applicant neighborhoods. Exhibit 2 depicts the change in neighborhood composition over time. The number of majority Black and majority White neighborhoods has declined during this period, but the number of majority Hispanic and mixed neighborhoods has increased. These numbers mask some underlying shifts as the growth of majority Hispanic neighborhoods was the result of transitions from mixed to Hispanic, with the growth in mixed neighborhoods coming from the transition from majority White or majority Black neighborhoods
becoming mixed. The changes in neighborhood composition demonstrate trends that are similar to the national trends described by Logan (2013) and Logan and Stults (2011). Hispanic and Asian and Pacific Islander neighborhoods are becoming more concentrated while Black, White, and mixed neighborhoods are becoming less concentrated. Despite some changes, however, most applicant neighborhoods have had one consistent majority racial or ethnic population for at least the past 20 years.
For many of the Choice Planning Grant applicant neighborhoods, this isolation extends beyond their immediate borders. In addition to being internally homogenous, a substantial majority of neighborhoods are also highly isolated in terms of their proximity to other areas with greater racial or ethnic diversity. A comparison of the racial and ethnic constitution of targeted neighborhoods with that of census tracts within 0.5 mile of the neighborhoods shows that nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of the neighborhoods are surrounded by census tracts with the same racial or ethnic majority, including every American Indian and Asian and Pacific Islander majority neighborhood.
Majority Black neighborhoods are surrounded by majority Black census tracts in 78 percent (62 neighborhoods) of the applicant neighborhoods. Of majority Black neighborhoods, 20 percent (16 neighborhoods) are adjacent to mixed census tracts and only 1 neighborhood is adjacent to majority White census tracts. Two-thirds (66 percent, 19 neighborhoods) of majority Hispanic neighborhoods are surrounded by majority Hispanic census tracts; 24 percent (7 neighborhoods) are adjacent to mixed census tracts and 2 neighborhoods are adjacent to majority White census tracts. Mixed neighborhoods are adjacent to other mixed census tracts in 63 percent of applicant neighborhoods and adjacent to majority White census tracts in 33 percent of applicant neighborhoods. Two mixed neighborhoods are adjacent to majority Hispanic census tracts. All majority White neighborhoods, except 1, were adjacent to majority White census tracts. The single exception was adjacent to mixed census tracts.
Not only were the targeted neighborhoods largely adjacent to other, similar census tracts, but also those adjacent census tracts were also isolated. The average composition of adjacent census tracts for each neighborhood type is shown in exhibit 3. As this bar chart shows, the census tracts within
0.5 mile of the applicant neighborhoods have, on average, populations very similar to the applicant neighborhoods. Overall, the applicant neighborhoods had a higher percentage White population and a lower percentage Black and Hispanic population. For two types of neighborhoods, Asian and Pacific Islander and White, the respective majority populations are more concentrated in adjacent census tracts than in the applicant neighborhoods. Tracts adjacent to Black, Hispanic, and mixed neighborhoods all have higher White populations than the applicant neighborhoods. In every neighborhood type, however, except majority White and mixed, the average percentage of the majority population exceeds Logan and Stult’s (2011) nationwide averages. The average resident in census tracts within 0.5 mile of Choice applicant neighborhoods are more isolated than the average individual nationally.
Race and Ethnicity and Neighborhood Economic and Housing Characteristics The racial and ethnic differences between the neighborhoods are also correlated with differences in educational attainment, household income level, unemployment rate, and poverty rate.15 These differences can be partially attributed to differences between different racial and ethnic groups in general. In other words, much of the difference in economic characteristics between majority Black and majority White neighborhoods can be explained by the lower educational attainment, by labor force participation rate, and by median income levels and higher poverty and unemployment rates of Black individuals compared with White individuals nationwide. Not all neighborhood differences, however, can be explained by these differences. In particular, non-Black individuals and households in majority Black neighborhoods fare worse across all of the characteristics included here than their counterparts in other Choice applicant neighborhoods and than the national average for these groups.
In reviewing these tables, readers should be aware that they contain some uncertainty. As noted previously, data drawn from SF3 are based on a sample of one out of six households; they are not exact figures. Likewise, ACS 5-year estimates are based on a sample of approximately one out of eight households collected during a 5-year period and averaged. The result is that both sets of data contain a margin of error. In addition, income levels and poverty rates are not always reported or are not reported accurately by respondents.
Geographic differences also contribute to the differences between neighborhood types, especially for those with small sample sizes. The three Asian and Pacific Islander neighborhoods are all in two cities (Honolulu, Hawaii, and San Francisco, California) with comparatively high wages, but American Indian neighborhoods are all located in small towns in rural locations with comparatively low wages. Majority Black, Hispanic, and mixed neighborhoods are all distributed across a range of cities. Summaries of four economic indicators for Choice applicant neighborhoods by majority race or ethnicity are presented in the following section. City values have been included for reference.
Educational Attainment Exhibit 4 shows educational attainment for individuals more than 25 years of age by neighborhood racial or ethnic majority. Nearly one-third of the population in the average applicant neighborhood lacks a high school diploma or equivalent. Nationwide, in 2010, approximately 15 percent of the population lacked a high school diploma or equivalent.
Median Household Income Exhibit 5 depicts median household incomes in constant dollars by neighborhood racial or ethnic majority between 1990 and 2006–2010. The median household income in the average applicant neighborhood is $31,880. This income level is less than the national median household income for 2010, which was $50,046. Median household incomes in applicant neighborhoods remained largely unchanged between 1990 and 2006–2010.
Black neighborhoods have the lowest median household income ($25,534). This is lower than all other neighborhoods, including American Indian neighborhoods (by more than $3,000), which have the next lowest median incomes. Median household incomes in Black neighborhoods are nearly one-half of the nationwide median household income and no majority Black neighborhood has a median household income greater than the national median household income.
Median household incomes in majority Hispanic neighborhoods show a clear downward trajectory.
This decline is due, in part, to many of these neighborhoods being mixed rather than Hispanic during earlier decades. These neighborhoods have become predominantly Hispanic since 1990, and the Hispanic population that has moved into these neighborhoods has had lower median incomes than the previous residents.
Majority White neighborhoods show a clear upward trajectory and have the second highest median household income ($42,844). Median household incomes in Asian and Pacific Islander neighborhoods are the highest and also demonstrate an upward trajectory. This income measurement is likely skewed by the small sample size (3), however, and the locations of these three neighborhoods in cities with a high cost of living and higher wages as the higher city median household incomes indicate.
Choice applicants. In more than one-fourth of all applicant neighborhoods, more than one-half of all families live below the poverty line. Also striking is that the average poverty rate has been extremely durable. Applicant neighborhoods have consistently had very high poverty rates during multiple decades.