‘A world apart’: How racial segregation continues to determine opportunity for American kids

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‘A world apart’: How racial segregation continues to determine opportunity for American kids:-Even though practices like redlining that separated people based on race were made illegal more than 50 years ago, data shows that race still has a big impact on the neighborhood where a child grows up.

‘A world apart’: How racial segregation continues to determine opportunity for American kids

The latest Child Opportunity Index results were released on Thursday. They show that Black and Latino children in the U.S. are much more likely than white children to grow up in areas with worse health outcomes, fewer educational options, and worse economic conditions.

The Childhood Opportunity Index was made by researchers at Brandeis University in Boston. For more than a decade, they looked at the chances kids had in thousands of neighborhoods across the country. A picture of the country’s 73,000 Census tracts is made by looking at more than 40 neighborhood factors, such as the number of empty buildings, the amount of green space, and the job rate.

In the report, researchers from Brandeis University’s project looked at the 100 biggest metro areas in the United States and found big differences in race, even when poverty was taken into account.

The report says: “A key form of inequality โˆ’ the separation of children into neighborhoods with vastly different conditions โˆ’ has been created and maintained by residential segregation.”

Clemens Noelke, the project’s study director,ย that the good and bad things in a neighborhood often build on top of each other, making things worse for the kids who live there.

“Some kids are growing up in neighborhoods that have higher home values, better schools and more access to green nature โˆ’ and on the other side a lot of children grow up in neighborhoods with high rates of pollution, under-resourced schools, low-quality jobs,” he added.

The first COI came out in 2014, and the second will come out in 2021. Noelke said that the third version, which came out Thursday, shows that education levels, income, and air pollution have all gotten better in the U.S. as a whole.

“But the unfair situations we see have mostly stayed the same,” he said, pointing to differences in race and location.

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US children continue to grow up ‘a world apart’ within same city

Researchers put U.S. neighborhoods into groups based on how many chances there were for kids and families. The study says that neighborhoods (census tracts) usually have about 4,000 people and 1,600 homes.

Neighborhoods were put into groups based on things like air pollution, pre-K enrollment, access to broadband internet, supply of healthy foods, the ability to walk, the experience of teachers, exposure to extreme heat, and many other factors.

Out of the thousands of neighborhoods that were looked at, each one fit into one of five potential levels:

  • Very high-opportunity: Home to 27% of U.S. children
  • High-opportunity: Home to 21% of U.S. children
  • Moderate-opportunity: Home to 17% of U.S. children
  • Low-opportunity: Home to 16% of U.S. children
  • Very low-opportunity: Home to 19% of U.S. children

Researchers have found that areas with few opportunities are linked to higher death rates. Researchers discovered that people who live in areas with a lot of opportunities can expect to live 82 years on average. In places with few opportunities, people only lived to be 76 years old on average.

Researchers say that in the U.S., black and Latino children tend to live in neighborhoods with fewer opportunities, while white and Asian children tend to live in areas with more opportunities.

Cities with lots of people can have neighborhoods on opposite ends of the chance spectrum that are only a mile apart or even right next to each other. Researchers say that the differences between some neighborhoods in the same city are as big as the differences between the poorest and richest areas in the whole country.

“The typical Asian or white child grows up essentially in a world apart,” said Noelke.

The DiversityDataKids.org dynamic map was used to put together the project’s neighborhoods.

Black, Latino children more likely to be in low-opportunity neighborhoods

Researchers found that a lot of low-opportunity and very low-opportunity neighborhoods are also redlined by banking systems in the first half of the 20th century. This made it so that people of different races couldn’t live in the same areas.

“While most of these policies are now illegal, their effects remain,” it says. There are still redlining cases being settled by banks with the Justice Department. The DOJ says that City National Bank decided to pay $31 million in early 2023 for allegedly discriminating in lending from 2017 to at least 2020.

The study says that most Black and Latino children (61%) and Asian children (58%) live in neighborhoods with fewer opportunities. In fact, these groups are seven times more likely than white and Asian children to live in neighborhoods with even fewer opportunities.

Black and Latino children are “concentrated in very low opportunity neighborhoods,” said Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Director of the Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy at Brandies University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. This is true even though housing segregation was made illegal more than 50 years ago.

There is a study that says kids who live in very low-opportunity and low-opportunity areas are more likely to have asthma, obesity, severe scoliosis, and childhood glaucoma. The study also says that children in these areas are physiologically stressed out, which “puts them at risk for adverse developmental and health outcomes.”

White, Asian children more likely to be in high-opportunity neighborhoods

The study found that White and Asian children are more likely to live in neighborhoods with more opportunities, even if their families are just as poor as Black and Latino children.

Data shows that 67% of all children in the U.S. live in areas with more opportunities, whether they are white or Asian.

There are big racial differences even “among children in poverty,” the study says:

Not as many poor white and Asian children (about 45%) live in areas with few opportunities as poor black and Latino children (about 80% of poor children).
Almost 60% of poor Black and Latino children live in neighborhoods with very few opportunities. This is compared to only 19% of poor white children and 24% of poor Asian children who live in areas with few opportunities.
It looks like there are some very clear unfair situations here, Acevedo-Garcia said.

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