Income segregation is important because people are affected by the character of the local areas in which they live. If income and wealth (and therefore of resources such as schools, parks, and public services) become increasingly concentrated in a small number of neighborhoods, the result could be greater disadvantages for the remaining neighborhoods where low- and middle-income families live. Trends in income segregation for specific groups (here we present data for white, black, and Hispanic families) can also provide clues about their residential mobility choices, such as when middle class minorities begin leaving mixed income neighborhoods.

Here we provide the most recent information about trends in income segregation. These estimates are from research by a team including John Logan, Andrew Foster, Charles Zhang, and Hongwei Xu. They found, contrary to prior studies, that there has been no overall trend of increasing segregation. This finding seems counterintuitive, in light of the overall rise income inequality in the last four decades. There are technical reasons why previous studies that relied on publicly available census data reached different conclusions. Simply put, because all information on family incomes at the census tract level come from weighted sample data, estimates based on the public data were biased. Using the original unit-level family income data in a confidential Research Data Center, Logan et al were able to correct for this bias.

The following web pages provide several measures of the extent of income segregation in the largest 95 metropolitan regions from 1980 to recent years. For a full explanation of data sources, measurement methods, and an overview of findings at the national level, see our working paper ( Logan et al 2020).

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. These data use the metropolitan definitions in force in 2010 for each decade from 1980 through 2012-2016.

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