GCI Senior Researcher James Lewis is quoted in a Chicago Tribune article that discusses a new study showing a gradual decline in housing segregation in the Chicago area. Lewis explains that the study raises several questions regarding the cause of the shift and whether the data accurately depicts a trend toward housing integration.
One question that the study did not answer, said Lewis, is whether decreases in segregation are fueled by economic reasons “or for personal inclination.” Another question, he said, is whether currently observed integration is the result of migration processes. A segregation index is, by definition, a snapshot in time, and a community that, at one moment, is integrated actually may be in the process of undergoing a dramatic demographic shift.
“My assessment of the social environment is that it’s a very, very long, slow process, but that it is very, very gradually getting better,” he said.
Although housing in the Chicago area appears to be slowly integrating, the study found the city to be the 13th most segregated metro area in the US and many minority neighborhoods are facing rent burden and other issues related to affordability.