Urban Housing Segregation of Minorities in Western Europe and the United States

Urban Housing Segregation of Minorities in Western Europe and the United States

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This book provides an expert examination and comparison of housing segregation in major population centers in the United States and Western Europe and analyzes successes and failures of government policies and desegregation programs in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and West Germany.
The collection begins with a review of the historical development of housing segregation in these countries, describing current housing conditions, concentration of housing in each country’s leading cities, minority populations and the housing they occupy—specifically public, nonprofit, and owner-occupied dwellings. When focusing on the United States, the contributors assess housing segregation, antisegregation measures, and institutional racism toward blacks in the Midwest and South, and toward Mexican-Americans throughout American cities. Chapters dealing with Western Europe include housing segregation of South Asian and West Indian immigrants in Britain, immigrants in Sweden, Turkish, and Yugoslav “guest workers” in West Germany, and Algerian and other Arab groups in France. The book concludes with discussions of public housing policies; suburban desegregation, resegregation, and integration maintenance programs; specific integration stabilization programs; and desegregation efforts in one specific place.

Contributors. Elizabeth Huttman, Michal Arend, Cihan Arin, Maurice Blanc, Wim Blauw, Ger Mik, Clyde McDaniels, Jürgen Friedrichs, Hannes Alpheis, John M. Goering, Len Gordon, Albert Mayer, Rosemary Helper, Barry V. Johnston, Terry Jones, Valerie Karn, Göran Lindberg, Anna Lisa Lindén, Deborah Phillips, Dennis Keating, Juliet Saltman, Alan Murie

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822378006
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth Huttman, Professor of Sociology, California State University, is the coeditor of Housing Needs and Policy Approaches and the author of Introduction to Social Policy.

Juliet Saltman is Professor Emerita of Sociology at Kent State University.

Wim Blauw is Associate Professor of Sociology at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. His is the author of Suburbanisatie in Sociale Contacten and coauthor of Emigreren.

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Urban Housing Segregation of Minorities in Western Europe and the United States

By Elizabeth D. Huttman, Wim Blauw, Juliet Saltman

Duke University Press

Copyright © 1991 Duke University Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8223-7800-6


Theoretical Orientation: Residential Segregation

The subject of residential segregation has been examined intensely by social science scholars over the past forty years. Six major questions have been raised: What is housing segregation? How is it measured? Where does it occur? Why does it exist? What are its consequences? and what can be done about it? Each of these questions will be considered in this introduction to the writings herein about European and American segregation.

What Is Housing Segregation?

Housing segregation is the spatial separation of different population groups within a given geographical area. The groups are either minority or dominant groups in the region and live in different areas of that region. As minority or dominant groups, they may be further differentiated by socioeconomic level, occupation, family composition, and subculture. Many years ago, Robert Park related the concept of spatial separation to social status and social distance: "It is because geography, occupation, and all the other factors which determine the distribution of population determine so irresistibly and fatally the place, the group, and the associates with whom each one of us is bound to live that spatial relations come to have ... the importance which they do.... It is because physical distances so frequently are ... the indexes of social distances, that statistics have any significance whatever for sociology" (Park, in Burgess 1926).

How Is Segregation Measured?

Numerous indexes of residential segregation have been developed over the years. The earliest segregation indexes, developed by Jahn, Schmidt, and Schrag (1947), Williams (1948), Cowgill and Cowgill (1951), and Bell (1954), were followed by the better known index of Duncan and Duncan (1955) and the most widely used index of the Taeubers (1965). These and other measures of segregation have been analyzed thoroughly elsewhere (see, for example, Taeuber 1965:195-245 and Farley 1987:235). Here we only selectively review and compare nonstatistically the two principal measures used in this book—those of the Duncans and the Taeubers.

Both of these measures use census data to calculate an index of dissimilarity (D). This index compares the residential location of pairs of groups (e.g., minority versus majority) according to their proportion of the total community population. It then gives a measure of the net percentage of one population that would have to relocate in order to produce an equally distributed (nonsegregated) population. The higher the index, the greater the degree of segregation.

The Duncans' segregation index measures dissimilarity by using census tract data of a city. They examined the residential distribution of eight different occupational groups in the Chicago metropolitan area (1955). They found that as the group differences in occupational prestige increased, a corresponding increase occurred in the index of dissimilarity. Computations of the proportions of each group were made for each census tract, producing the dissimilarity index. This is one-half the sum of the absolute values of the differences between the respective distributions, taken area by area. When the index is computed between one group and all other groups combined, it is referred to as an index of segregation. An additional index of centralization measures relative concentration of residences toward the center of the city. Correlations of the different levels of segregation among the groups can then be computed by the Spearman rank formula.

The Taeubers' index of segregation is based on block data, rather than census tracts. As they explain the rationale for their index: "Suppose that whether a person was Negro or white made no difference in his choice of residence, and that his race was not related to any other factors affecting residential location (i.e., income level). Then no neighborhood would be all-Negro- or all-white, but rather each race would be represented in each neighborhood in approximately the same proportion as in the city as a whole" (Taeuber 1965:29).

Here, the value of the segregation index would be zero, indicating no residential segregation. But if there were no residential mixing of whites and blacks, then the segregation index would have a value of 100, indicating total segregation. The higher the index value, the higher the degree of residential segregation; the lower the value, the greater the degree of residential integration. The actual number tells us what percentage of a city's black population would have to move in order to have no segregation. Their formula for computing the index is based on the proportion of nonwhite households in a given block in relation to the proportion of nonwhites in the city as a whole. The Taeubers found that segregation indexes calculated from block data are somewhat higher than indexes computed from census tract data, but there is a high correlation between the two sets of indexes (Taeuber 1965:229). The latest computations of Taeuber's D show persisting although slightly diminishing segregation in the United States, with mean indexes for 109 cities of 85 in 1940 to 82 in 1970 and 76 in 1988 (Taeuber 1988:38).

Where Does Segregation Occur?

Because social stratification and minority-majority populations occur in all human societies, it follows that spatial segregation of living quarters occurs everywhere. We know of no society that does not have housing segregation based on social status differences. This holds true regardless of whether the group comparisons are of whites or blacks, minority or majority, central cities or suburban rings, or European, American, or Third World countries (Schwab 1982:394). What differs from society to society, however, is the extent of segregation, the pattern of segregation, and the specific basis for it. That basis is rooted in the particular history of each society.

The concentration or dispersion of different groups in geographical space is found in its most extreme form when groups live in particular regions separated by water barriers. Somewhat less extreme would be regional concentration in continuous land areas. Ethnic regionalism is found in a number of societies such as in Yugoslavia, where 71 percent of the Serbs live in Serbia, 79 percent of Croats live in Croatia, and 94 percent of Slovenes live in Slovenia (Burkey 1978:39). Likewise, of the twenty-two cantons or regions in Switzerland, fifteen are predominantly German, one is overwhelmingly Italian, three are primarily French, and three are a mixture of German and French. Likewise, the Basques cluster in northern Spain and southern France; the Bretons are in Brittany, France; the Scots, English, Welsh, and Cornish are concentrated in their particular areas of Great Britain; most French-Canadians live in Quebec; and the Lapps live primarily in the northern part of Scandinavia. Blacks in South Africa, although a numerical majority, are concentrated in designated areas within each community. Such minority concentration is typical elsewhere.

In the United States, ethnic and racial minorities are also clustered, with Hispanics living mostly in the southwest, Irish in the East, Asians on the West Coast, Indians on reservations, primarily in the West, and Scandinavians and Germans in the Midwest. Blacks and other minorities are concentrated in areas within U.S. cities and metropolitan regions. Inner-city minority concentration also occurs in some Northern European cities such as Amsterdam, West Berlin, and Hamburg. But in others, such as Stockholm and increasingly Paris, the concentration is in outer fringe areas. In most Northern European cities more recently immigrated minorities cluster in inner central areas and outer areas and suburban public housing.

Why Does Segregation Exist?

Answers to this question are numerous and provide some theoretical framework for this book. Social scientists have long studied the phenomenon of human segregation and have developed various explanations for it. Five general theoretical approaches have emerged: ecological, economic, intergroup, social-psychological, and institutional theories. None of them alone explains segregation fully. Some of the theories have been shown to be more valid than others when tested; it is probable that several theoretical approaches combined offer the best explanation of why segregation exists.

Ecological perspectives suggest that the operation of multiple impersonal forces results in the segregation of groups in various sections of a city. According to this view, if a large concentration of people is heterogeneous in their socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or culture, it is inevitable that they will sort themselves out on the basis of types of housing and their location in relation to the center of the city. Spatial differentiation is thus a manifestation of social stratification.

Segregation, according to ecologists, is the clustering of like units in spatial areas; it may be voluntary or involuntary, and it may refer to populations or types of land use. Ecological theories also use the concept of ecological processes, including those of invasion and succession. Here, the invasion process involves the introduction of a new population group or land use to an area; succession refers to the result of that process, that is, the area's total change in population type or land use (Bailey 1966; Hawley 1981; Hoyt 1939; McKenzie 1926; Schwab 1982; Shevky and Bell 1955).

Stages in the life-cycle of neighborhood change, as developed by American urban ecologists, suggest an inevitable transition from white to black once the process of racial succession has begun (Aldrich and Reiss 1976; Little, Nourse, and Phares 1975; Molotch 1972; Varady 1979; Wilson 1983; Yancy and Erickson 1979). This has, in fact, been the prevailing view in urban analyses for more than forty years. Only in the early 1980s did another view emerge that questioned this orthodoxy (Galster 1987; Helper, in Goering 1986, 1979; Lee 1985; Saltman 1989, 1986, 1984). This more recent view suggests that the process of neighborhood racial succession is not inevitable, and neighborhoods may become racially integrated and stabilized if sufficient resources and institutional networks are mobilized early enough for collective action.

Economic theories of residential segregation are linked to income levels. They suggest, for example, that the major reason for housing segregation in the United States is that most blacks cannot afford to live in many of the neighborhoods where whites live. But through the use of a statistical measurement, indirect standardization, scholars can determine the validity of this explanation by computing an expected segregation index based on income differences alone, and then comparing this with the actual segregation index for any city. Using this analysis, repeated studies of economic factors indicate their weakness as an explanation of segregation (Farley 1982; Hermalin and Farley 1973; Taeuber and Taeuber 1965). Only a small portion, perhaps one-fourth, of housing segregation can be accounted for by income differences alone.

Intergroup theories of segregation relate to minority-majority relations and migration patterns. Liebersen (1980:329) has suggested that "migration is the basic factor underlying all racial contacts and subsequent relations." Whether the migration was voluntary or involuntary is a critical factor in those subsequent relations, as is which group initially had the greater power (Schermerhorn 1970; Blalock 1982).

The sociological concept of minority has nothing to do with numbers. Rather, it relates to power differentials. Numerically, blacks in South Africa are an overwhelming majority; sociologically, they are a minority. In terms of domination, clearly what matters is the power rather than the numbers. The differential treatment of minorities results in their physical separation and segregation in any society; these vary in degrees that range along a continuum from total segregation to pluralism and on to assimilation. "Internal Colonialism" is the model that has been used to describe the dependency relationship between majority and minority, similar to that of colonizer and native (Banton 1967; Blauner 1972; Kinloch 1979). The process is fluid and subject to changing societal conditions and norms.

Social-psychological explanations of residential segregation focus on human preferences and locational choices. One position, for example, is that blacks in the United States prefer living in all-black neighborhoods, a preference that accounts for their segregation (Coleman 1979; Wolf 1981). Research data, however, do not support this view of voluntary segregation as applied to blacks (Darden, in Tobin 1987; Farley et al. 1979, 1978; Frey 1984). In order for true choice to occur, constraints must be absent, which is not the situation of blacks in American society. Thus, voluntary segregation is not possible until involuntary segregation has been eliminated. "Were it not for racial constraints, the black pattern of neighborhood selection would follow very closely the life cycle pattern found among whites" (Darden, in Tobin 1987:29).

Another explanation of past and existing segregation in the United States refers to white preferences. According to this view, whites prefer all-white neighborhoods and behave in ways that exclude blacks from their neighborhoods. Studies of Downs (1973), Pettigrew (1975), and Schuman, Steeh, and Babo (1985) reveal that whites perceive blacks as holding different and undesirable values. Other research by Leven et al. (1976), Taub, Taylor, and Dunham (1984), and O'Brien and Lange (1986) indicates that whites frequently associate racial integration with neighborhood decline and rising crime. Farley et al.'s research (1979, 1978) shows that most whites prefer neighborhoods with few black residents, whereas blacks prefer neighborhoods with more equal mixing.

These explanations of residential segregation in the United States, some of which are supported by research data, do not indicate why white neighborhood preferences are so strongly exclusionary of blacks. For this understanding, we must turn to the fifth and final theoretical approach to segregation—the institutional view—which is strongly linked to historical factors that have fostered racial discrimination in housing.

Institutional explanations of segregation focus on the involuntary aspects of residential location and distribution. According to this view, involuntary segregation occurs because of institutional racism in the entire housing delivery system, including real estate practitioners, appraisers, bankers, insurance companies, builders, and individual owners and landlords. Moreover, such racism has in the past been sanctioned by law and mandate. Although later laws made racial discrimination in housing illegal, those earlier sanctioned norms were by then firmly established and entrenched, and the weakly enforced new laws did little to change discriminatory custom.

The substantial research on residential segregation indicates four general factors that have generated and maintained residential segregation in the United States: (1) government policies related to urban renewal, public housing, and suburban development; (2) the inadequate supply of low and moderate income housing dispersed throughout the metropolitan area; (3) suburban zoning regulations; and (4) racial discrimination in the housing industry. Segregation in housing in the United States has had a long history and is the result of past discriminatory practices in which the private housing industry and federal, state, and local governments have been active participants (Rabin, in Tobin 1987; Saltman 1989, 1979; Wienk et al. 1979; Taeuber 1988).

These discriminatory practices have been traced from 1866—when the first open housing law was passed—to 1968, when the constitutionality of that earlier law was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court soon after Congress passed its first federal open housing legislation, Title 8 of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. During the 102 years it took to legally reaffirm the basic human right to shelter, three racist textbooks for the national real estate industry were published by 1923 and reconfirmed as late as 1950. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) manuals from 1935 to 1940 insisted on discriminatory practices in instructions to builders of new housing developments. Federal banking agencies urged similar practices, and approved racially restrictive covenants in deeds during a 16-year period when more than eleven million new homes were built. State courts upheld discriminatory ordinances passed by local and state governments during these 102 years, making the legacy of discrimination complete. It is not surprising that the latest studies of racial segregation in housing in the United States show continuing high levels.


Excerpted from Urban Housing Segregation of Minorities in Western Europe and the United States by Elizabeth D. Huttman, Wim Blauw, Juliet Saltman. Copyright © 1991 Duke University Press. Excerpted by permission of Duke University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


1. Theoretical Orientation: Residential Segregation,
I: Housing Segregation in Western Europe,
2. Housing Segregation in Western Europe: An Introduction,
3. Housing Segregation for Different Population Groups in the Netherlands,
4. Racial Segregation in Britain: Patterns, Processes, and Policy Approaches,
5. Immigrant Housing Patterns in Sweden,
6. Housing Segregation of Immigrants in West Germany,
7. Urban Housing Segregation of North African "Immigrants" in France,
8. Housing Segregation in Switzerland,
II: Policies and Programs Related to Housing Segregation in Western Europe,
9. Introduction to the Policies in European Countries,
10. Housing Segregation and Policy in the Dutch Metropolitan Environment,
11. The Housing Market and Housing Policies for the Migrant Labor Population in West Berlin,
12. Subsidized Housing Segregation in Western Europe: Stigma and Segregation,
III: Housing Segregation in the United States: An Overview,
13. Introduction,
14. Housing Segregation in the Urban Black Population of the Midwest,
15. Housing Segregation of Blacks in the South,
16. Housing Segregation and Housing Conditions for Hispanics in Phoenix, with Comparisons with Other Southwestern Cities,
IV: Policies and Programs Related to Housing Segregation in the United States,
17. Introduction to American Policies and Programs,
18. Public Housing Segregation in the United States,
19. American Suburbs: Desegregation and Resegregation,
20. Open Housing in Metropolitan Cleveland,
21. U.S. Neighborhood Stabilization Efforts,
22. Conclusion,
23. Summary and Future Trends,

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