Desegregation court cases and school demographic data

Data for the Metropolitan Statistical Area : Richmond-Petersburg, VA MSA

In this Metropolitan area:
Charles City County, Chesterfield County, Colonial Heights city, Dinwiddie County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Hopewell city, New Kent County, Petersburg city, Powhatan County, Prince George County, Richmond city,
Cities:Petersburg, VA, Richmond, VA,


This page provides information for all schools in the metropolitan region. You may select a specific school district in this area from the menu below.

Select a school district to view its ethnic/racial segregation measures.


Ethnic and racial composition
Total Population Non Hispanic
Non Hispanic
Hispanic Asian
1968-70 92,284 56,752 35,117 84 331
61.5% 38.1% 0.1% 0.4%
1980 94,776 57,836 35,943 178 819
61.0% 37.9% 0.2% 0.9%
1990 85,807 50,839 32,706 639 1,504
59.3% 38.1% 0.8% 1.8%
2000 93,901 53,162 37,370 1,604 1,676
56.6% 39.8% 1.7% 1.8%
2010 95,913 47,299 34,022 7,415 3,655
49.3% 35.5% 7.7% 3.8%
1968-70 1980
1990 2000 2010
Performance, poverty and class size disparities between schools

Besides racial composition, there are great variations in other characteristics of schools. One important measure is the performance of students on standardized tests. Another is the class composition of schools, as revealed in the percentage of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches (in 2000, under $32,000 income for a family of four). There is also variation in class size as experienced by members of each group (measured as the ratio of students to teachers in the entire school).

Following are measures of student performance based on state tests in 2004 (or the closest available year). Schools have been ranked against all other schools in the same state, and values here are for the school's percentile ranking from 0 (the worst in the state) to 100 (best in the state). We do not have measures of how students in each racial group performed. What is shown here is the ranking of the school that the average student in each group attend. Nationally we find that black, Hispanic, and Native American children attend schools where student performance is much lower than in the schools that white and Asian children attend.

Black HispanicAsian Native
Reading 57.3 30.0 36.9 58.6 43.4
Math 57.8 32.0 39.9 59.7 42.3

In 1999-2000, the segregation of the non-poor from poor children is 47% (dissimilarity index). The average non-poor child is in a school that is 62% non-poor. The average poor child's school is 66% poor. The following bar charts, in most cases, show that children from different races went to schools with different levels of poverty but with more similar student/teacher ratios.

Percent poor in the school of the average group member, 2010
Index of Dissimilarity (D)

The dissimilarity index measures whether one particular group is distributed across census tracts in the metropolitan area in the same way as another group. A high value indicates that the two groups tend to live in different tracts. D ranges from 0 to 100. A value of 60 (or above) is considered very high. It means that 60% (or more) of the members of one group would need to move to a different tract in order for the two groups to be equally distributed. Values of 40 or 50 are usually considered a moderate level of segregation, and values of 30 or below are considered to be fairly low.

Exposure Index

Another measure of school segregation is a class of exposure indices (p*) that refer to the racial/ethnic composition of the elementary school attended by the average member of a given group. For example, the average Hispanic might attend elementary schools that are 40% Hispanic, 40% non-Hispanic white,15% black, and 5% Asian. (Note that these various indices must add up to 100%.) These are presented below in two categories: exposure of the group to itself (which is called the Index of Isolation) and exposure ofthe group to other groups.

Isolation Indices

The isolation index is the percentage of same-group population the the elementary schools where the average member of a racial/ethnic group attends. It has a lower bound of zero (for a very small group that is quite dispersed) to 100 (meaning that group members are entirely isolated from other groups). It should be kept in mind that this Index is affected by the size of the group -- it is almost inevitably smaller for smaller groups, and it is likely to rise over time if the group becomes larger.

Exposure to other groups

Indices of exposure to other groups also range from 0 to 100, where a larger value means that the average group member attends elementary school with a higher percentage of children from the other group. These indices depend partly on the overall size of the other group in the region.