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Texas Home To 4 Of 10 Most Income Segregated Metros in the U.S.


by: Nick Hudson

Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 02:11 PM CDT



This map shows how U.S. metros stack up on income segregation. Dark blue reflects high levels of income segregation; light blue significant levels; green moderate levels, and yellow low levels.

Four out of the ten of the most economically segregated large metro areas in the country are in Texas, according to a study conducted by Richard Florida and covered in The Atlantic Cities.

San Antonio-New Braunfels was the No. 1 most segregated metro area in the country. The Houston Area was the No. 4 most economically segregated. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro took the No. 8 spot. And the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metro was No. 10.

Economic segregation is a measure of the tendency of affluent people to live in neighborhoods where almost everyone else is affluent, and poor people to live in neighborhoods where almost everyone else is poor. The measure of income segregation reveals concentrated pockets of advantage and disadvantage. This is significant, according to Florida, because concentrated disadvantage has been shown to limit socioeconomic mobility.

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The measure of economic segregation also raises important questions about the factors that lead to such concentrations of wealth and poverty. Richard Florida's colleague, Charlotte Mellander research, determined that race is significantly related to income segregation. Metros where Blacks and Latinos make up greater shares of the population have a greater amounts of income segregation. This suggests that racial discrimination and physical segregation continue to impact the lives of Hispanic and Latinos.

Income segregation is also related to the size of the metropolitan areas. Florida and Mellander looked at income segregation in more than 350 metro areas, and income segregation is higher in the larger metro areas. According to Florida:

"This is not surprising, as large metros have more households and a greater range of incomes and types of housing; there is more gentrification and "superstar" neighborhoods in such places, which price out less affluent people, enabling the better off to ensconce themselves in exclusive enclaves."

As policymakers look for ways to ensure wealth and opportunity are within everyone's reach, income segregation is one important tool they can use to gauge and target their effort.


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