Is philadelphia a segregated city?

People from different racial and ethnic groups live in different neighborhoods, and the pace of eliminating segregation has slowed down. Social outcomes usually correspond to where people live. This interactive feature shows that Philadelphia is usually segregated by race. Its residents are 44.1 percent black, 35.8 percent white, 13.6 percent Latino and 7.2 percent Asian.

And yet, it's also an extremely segregated city. This story measures the level of racial segregation in Philadelphia over time, and compares it to other cities. We found that Philadelphia remains one of the most segregated cities and metropolitan areas in the country, and that the desegregation rate has been slowing down. Philadelphia-area schools are among the most segregated in the country, especially for Latino students, according to a new report.

According to an analysis by FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver, Philadelphia is the fourth most segregated city of the 100 largest cities in the country. However, by the late 1950s, it was clear that Philadelphia's civil rights reforms had not brought about the kind of fundamental change in race relations that civil rights activists had predicted. Even as the African American population moved to the surrounding white neighborhoods and beyond the areas bounded by old HOLC maps, speculators and other housing predators followed them through West Philadelphia and north to Nicetown, Olney and West Oak Lane. Segregation and its attendant ills are not new, but drawing attention to them from a new perspective helped to start conversations about it.

The city of Philadelphia is a large district, with more than 100,000 students and another 80,000 in charter schools. But while FHA's influence lingers in today's hyper-segregated metropolitan regions, the most infamous maps created during the New Deal's foray into residential real estate come from HOLC. Not surprisingly, the slow pace of racial change has left many members of Philadelphia's civil rights community discouraged. By 1945, the Philadelphia NAACP had grown to 16,700 members, making it one of the largest chapters of the NAACP in the country.

Philadelphia spends less per student than most surrounding districts, he noted, even though most low-income students of color generally have more needs. Plans and designs for the famous development of Long Island, and its sister in the Philadelphia suburb of Bucks County, had to be submitted to the FHA for approval in order to obtain low-interest bank loans. About a third of the houses on West Oakdale Street between 15th and 16th in North Philadelphia are empty. In the 51 square miles of Northeast Philadelphia, which developed largely after World War II and was overwhelmingly white until the 1990s, there is only one small neighborhood that received a D rating.

But the most telling aspect of the riots was the way in which crowds of black people north of Philadelphia responded to calls from African-American civil and community rights leaders, including Raymond Pace Alexander, Leon Sullivan and Cecil B. According to the index used by the Century Foundation, a liberal think tank, the area comprising Philadelphia and Delaware County is the most segregated in the country for students Latinos and ranks ninth in segregation between blacks and whites.

Christian Woytowicz
Christian Woytowicz

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