Reardon, Sean F., & Yun, John T.
Integrating Neighborhoods, Segregating Schools: The Retreat from School Desegregation in the South, 1990-2000
Stanford University; Harvard University
Examines the relationship between residential segregation, public school segregation, and private school enrollment in the South in the 1990s.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Paper Presented at the conference on the Resegregation of Southern Schools
- While residential segregation in the South decreased substantially in the 1990s, public school segregation between Black and White students increased during this period.
- School segregation in the South is not due to residential segregation changes.
- Private school enrollment is a segregative mechanism in the South.
- White private school enrollment at the county level is strongly and tightly positively linked to the proportion of Black school age population in the county.
- Whites enroll at private schools at very high rates in predominantly Black counties.
- White flight to private schools has not lessened since the 1970s.
- In states with growing white/Hispanic residential segregation, there was a corresponding increase in white/Hispanic school segregation, largely because aggregate Hispanic segregation patterns are due primarily to intercounty residential patterns, except in Texas and Florida.
- The White private school enrollment rate increased sharply from seven percent to nearly ten percent in the South during the 1970s, even as it declined in the rest of the country. Black private school enrollment rates increased slightly in both the South and the rest of the United States during the same period.
- Thus, trends for the South as a whole and for individual states suggest that there was substantial White flight to private schools in the 1970s, followed by a decade of relative stability in private school enrollments in the 1980s.
- Results suggest that the presence of Black students in the public schools remains a powerful factor in shaping White families' public/private schooling decisions.
Desegregation, Latinos, Private Schools, Resegregation, Residential Segregation, White Flight
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Schools in the South
Unit of Analysis:
Metropolitan Areas, School, School District
- The residential segregation data are from 1990 and 2000 tract level Census data.
- The primary data source on race and enrollment for schools is from the Common Core of Data (CCD) of the NCES for years 1989-1990 and 1999-2000.
- Information on private school enrollment is from 1990 Census data, the 1997-1998 CCD and the 1997-1998 Private School Survey.
- The South is defined using the Census definition.
- The measure of segregation used in the study is the information theory index, H, a measure of how evenly race/ethnic populations groups are distributed among census tracts or schools. Analyzes Black/White and Hispanic/White segregation.
- Study compares residential segregation and school segregation at the state, county, and metropolitan area levels.
- DV: Public school segregation
- IV: Residential segregation, private school enrollment