Orfield, Gary, & Lee, Chungmei
Racial Transformation and the Changing Nature of Segregation
Examines patterns of segregation in US schools through the 2003-2004 school year.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
- Major transformation has occurred in public schools since the 1960s.
- White students are the most isolated although the enrollment of non-White students has increased.
- Major trend in education is the growing segregation of Black and Latino students from White students.
- The study provides data on changing patterns of segregation by region and by state for each racial/ethnic group (Black, Latino, Asian, and American Indian students).
- Examines changes in school districts that ended desegregation---found a significant decline in the share of White enrollment.
- Of all racial groups, Whites remain the most isolated group: the average White student attends schools where more than three quarters (78%) of his or her peers are also White. As a result of this isolation, most non-White groups experience less exposure to White students than one would expect given the racial composition of the nation’s public schools.
- In 2003, the South and the West had the lowest proportions of bBacks in intensely segregated schools (32% and 30%) while the Northeast and the Midwest had the highest, 51 and 46 percent respectively, reflecting the high residential segregation in these areas (the nation’s worst) and the fragmentation of their metro housing markets into many small school districts.
- The Midwest, home to such cities as Chicago and Detroit, has the largest concentrations of Black students in "apartheid" or extremely segregated (99-100%) minority schools at 26 percent, followed closely by 23 percent of Black students in the Northeast.
- Segregation increased for Latinos in all regions except the Northeast, where it remains very high even though there is a slight decline on some measures, perhaps reflecting Latino suburbanization trends.
- In the West, two-thirds (66%) of Asians are in schools with less than half White students, up from 60 percent twelve years earlier.
- Even when Asians are in predominantly minority schools they are seldom overwhelmingly Asian and, therefore, very unlikely to have the kind of substantial linguistic segregation that significantly affects Latino students.
African American, Asians, Geographic Location, Latinos, Segregation
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Data from 1968 through 2003-2004 school year are used to examine patterns of segregation for all racial groups in states, regions, and districts. The data are primarily from the Common Core of Data of the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education for the years 1991 and 2003
- Segregation measured using exposure index (the share of a particular group in the school of the average student of another racial group) and the distribution of students in schools with different racial compositions: majority minority (defined as 50-100% minority), majority White (defined as 50-100% White), and intensely segregated minority schools (defined as schools with more than 90% minority)