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Report: Racial Segregation Is Lower In Cities Like San Diego

San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

Photo by Milan Kovacevic

Above: San Diego's skyline is shown in this undated photo.

San Diego is on the low end of the racial segregation scale among American cities because it grew quickly in recent decades. That's according to a new report by Apartmentlist.com, which shows the San Diego area had a segregation rating of .42 — that means 42 percent of racial minorities would have to relocate to evenly distribute them throughout the city.

Housing economist Chris Salviati, with Apartmentlist.com, said metro areas that developed earlier than San Diego were more likely to grow based on racist housing policies.

"So, I'm talking about things like restrictive covenants in deeds, exclusionary zoning ordinances, redlining policies. And so what we find is that cities that have grown the least since 1970 tend to display the highest levels of segregation today," Salviati said.

"Whereas cities that have had most of their growth in more recent decades in the absence of such policies, those are places that have tended to develop in less segregated ways."

San Diego has the 17th lowest segregation rating among the nation's 50 largest metro areas. Salviati said to some extent, clear patterns of segregation, whatever their cause, exist in all American cities. He adds that this is important because neighborhoods with high concentrations of minority populations are economically disadvantaged.

"Across census tracts with minority populations of 75 percent or more, we find that median renter incomes in those neighborhoods are 28 percent lower than the metro area as a whole. At the same time rents are only 10 percent lower than the metrowide median," he said.

When whites are compared to specific racial groups, blacks were the most segregated group in nearly every metro area. Overall, Portland, Oregon had the lowest segregation rate. Milwaukee, Wisconsin had the highest.

San Diego is on the low end of the racial segregation scale among American cities because it grew quickly in recent decades.

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