Census data at the tract level (the 2007-2011 American Community Survey) shows that there has been a recent trend of increasing separation of families into different neighborhoods based on their income. As overall income inequality grew in the last four decades, high- and low-income families have become increasingly less likely to live near one another (click here to see the report by Reardon and Bischoff 2011). Mixed income neighborhoods have grown rarer, while affluent and poor neighborhoods have grown much more common. In fact, the share of the population in large and moderate-sized metropolitan areas who live in the poorest and most affluent neighborhoods has more than doubled since 1970, while the share of families living in middle-income neighborhoods dropped from 65 percent to 44 percent. These trends are consequential because people are affected by the character of the local areas in which they live. The increasing concentration of income and wealth (and therefore of resources such as schools, parks, and public services) in a small number of neighborhoods results in greater disadvantages for the remaining neighborhoods where low- and middle-income families live.

Black and Hispanic families have experienced the highest increases in income segregation within their racial/ethnic category, and are now more segregated by income than are non-Hispanic whites.

The following web pages provide several measures of the extent of income segregation in individual metropolitan regions from 1970 to the present. Click here for more details about data sources and measures.

First, CHOOSE A RACIAL/ETHNIC GROUP. Which group do you want to display?



The Census Bureau uses a standard set of definitions of the area included in each "metropolitan statistical area" (MSA) or "metropolitan division,” which is a subdivision of a highly populated MSA, such as the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA. The authors of this analysis (Sean Reardon and Kendra Bischoff) applied the metropolitan definitions announced by the Office of Management and Budget in 2003 to the data for each decade from 1970 through 2007-2011. These definitions are available here.

“Select a Metropolitan Region” lists all MSAs and Metropolitan Divisions alphabetically.