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Residential segregation

Visit us (http://www.khanacademy.org/science/healthcare-and-medicine) for health and medicine content or (http://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat) for MCAT related content. These videos do not provide medical advice and are for informational purposes only. The videos are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any Khan Academy video. Created by Arshya Vahabzadeh.

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  • marcimus pink style avatar for user Booi
    I took this excerpt from the University of Michigan webpage.

    "One extreme possibility would be an American Apartheid situation in which all blacks lived in exclusively black census tracts while all whites lived in all-white census tracts. Of course this does not occur but this would be the maximum residential segregation of blacks from whites. If there were such an apartheid situation, the index of dissimilarity would take on its peak value of 100."

    It seems to me that higher the index of dissimilarity more segregated a group is. The idea indicated here directly opposes what the video suggests as for 100 being the perfect distribution. Could you please or anyone for that matter clarify on this?

    (24 votes)
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    • male robot johnny style avatar for user chg90
      I believe the video is indeed switching the values. From census.gov: "The most widely used measure of evenness is the dis- similarity index. Conceptually, dissimilarity measures the percent- age of a group’s population that would have to change residence for each neighborhood to have the same percentage of that group as the metropolitan area overall. The index ranges from 0.0 (complete integration) to 1.0 (complete segre- gation)."
      (2 votes)
  • leaf red style avatar for user Raquel Reisinger
    this is wrong!
    One extreme possibility would be an American Apartheid situation in which all blacks lived in exclusively black census tracts while all whites lived in all-white census tracts. Of course this does not occur but this would be the maximum residential segregation of blacks from whites. If there were such an apartheid situation, the index of dissimilarity would take on its peak value of 100. Another extreme example would be a situation in which blacks and whites were randomly assigned to their census tracts of residence. This never happens but, if it did, the index of dissimilarity would equal 0 meaning that blacks and whites were evenly distributed across census tracts.
    (6 votes)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Robert Rella
    is the index of dissimilarity's values correct? 0 being segregated and 100 being integrated? It makes sense that way because the index, or measure, of dissimilarity being 100 for a community means that the community is experiencing maximum dissimilarity within its neighborhoods. If the score were 0, then there would be no dissimilarity at all in the neighborhoods and everyone would be similar to their neighbors. I have seen the University of Michigan page and I would like to know which is the true way to measure it.
    (4 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Jessica
    Is racial segregation only defined in its harmful contexts? What about the creation of different cultural communities in the US, like Chinatown? Yes, the residents there may or may not have less access to quality resources but there's a good hub for Chinese people who wish to interact with other Chinese people.
    (2 votes)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Brett Kramer
    Has the index of dissimilarity been used to compare racial segregation in different parts of the United States? If so, where do they cut off the sample used?
    (1 vote)
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  • male robot donald style avatar for user Dan
    what are some of the factors that cause residential segregation within a similar geographic area? Is residential segregation mostly voluntary or involuntary? In other words, do people do it because they like to be around others similar to themselves? Because they dislike being around people dissimilar to themselves? or because they have no choice in that they are relatively poor compared to others and so have to move to lower cost areas?
    (1 vote)
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  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user ff142
    The scales for index of dissimilarity seem counterintuitive.
    Because high index of dissimilarity sounds like higher segregation and uneven distribution, and low index of dissimilarity sounds like lower segregation and more even distribution, but it's actually the opposite.
    (0 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Emily Lin
      The way I think about it is that the lower the index of dissimilarity, the less dissimilar you are to your neighbor, so you're living with people similar to you meaning you are segregated from others. On the other hand higher index of dissimilarity means you are more dissimilar from your neighbor, so you're surrounded by a mixture of different people, which would happen when people are not as segregated.
      (1 vote)

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] All right so let's talk a little bit about residential segregation. So when we talk about residential segregation, we mean that groups of people basically separate out into different neighborhoods. Now, when I say groups of people, often times we actually mean groups of people by race. But sometimes you can mean groups of people by income. Now, what's really important about segregation, this residential segregation, is the concept that, where we live really affects our life chances. Because where we live affects our politics, our health care, our availability to educational resources. So where we live is actually pretty important. Let's look at this neighborhood that we see on the bottom left of the street. Now let's imagine both red and blue people live in this neighborhood. So the first thing we see, we see a pattern. And we can describe this pattern as being uneven. So we can see that there's groups of people living in different neighborhoods, both blue and red are not equally distributed. So there is a pattern of residential segregation that is present in the neighborhood. But actually, there are two other forms of segregation that we can talk about. So the first one of these forms I want to talk about is something called concentration. And concentration ia a form of segregation. And what concentration means, concentration means that there's clustering of the different groups. So not only is the distribution different, but they actually cluster together. So the reds and the blues may have a more intense pattern of clustering. So what could that look like in our neighborhood? So what we could see here is that the red is actually clustering on the bottom right-hand corner of this neighborhood. So clustering is clustering in a vicinity. And this is actually, the form of segregation is called concentration. Now, what if you had segregation and concentration but the clustering actually occurred right in the center of a geographic area or a metropolitan area. Well, that would actually be called something a little bit different. And that would actually be called centralization. So centralization is segregation plus cost strain in a central area. And what would that look like? In a central area, so what would that look like in our chart? So in our chart, if the reds were very centrally located, like so... Then this would be an example of centralization. So they're segregated, they're concentrated, and now, they're in a central area, so this is centralization. So this is another form of segregation. Now, let's talk about a way in which we can actually measure residential segregation. And one of the things that we can use is called the index of dissimilarity. And the index is a scale going from 100, all the way down to zero. And at zero we're saying that we have total segregation. So the communities are completely separate. And at 100, we are experiencing perfect distribution. So if we imagine a city that has four neighborhoods, neighborhood A, B, C, and D, and in the city lived the blue people and the red people, in this example we would probably be very close, or at zero. Because we can see that the red people are completely segregated in their own neighborhood, compared to the blue people. However, if we changed this up a little bit, and actually dispersed the red people up into different neighborhoods, and dispersed the blue people, we would actually be much closer to that perfect distribution. So this is an example of one of the measures that is commonly used to measure this residential segregation. Now, finally, one of the things you should also do, is ask ourselves, why is residential segregation important? Because communities that are segregated are politically weak. Their political interests do not overlap with the political interests of other communities. And when that happens, they become politically vulnerable. They don't necessarily have the votes or political influence to keep their own schools, establishments, community centers, open, compared to other communities who are much more politically integrated. Another factor to consider, is that communities that are very isolated, their language may change. Their language can be different from the language used in other communities, even within the same city. So there could be an element of linguistic isolation. And this may make it more difficult for these individuals in these more segregated neighborhoods to obtain jobs, to become more integrated in the wider city and the other communities. And we also mention that education, health care, and other resources, may be of a lower quality, in their neighborhoods compared to wealthier neighborhoods. Or neighborhoods that other groups reside in. There's a final concept I wanted to mention, and this concept is called spatial mismatch. And this concept suggests that opportunities for low-income people who are in segregated neighborhoods, may be present, but they may be far away from where they actually live. Which means that they're harder to access. So from the place that people live to where the opportunities are, there's an actual, physical distance, a spatial mismatch, which makes it harder for them to access.