Chicago Most Segregated City in U.S.; Irvine, California the Least

Chicago Most Segregated City in U.S.; Irvine, California the Least

May 9 2015

Having a diverse population doesn’t necessarily mean a city isn’t segregated. In fact, an analysis shows that diversity and segregation often go hand in hand.

Chicago is a diverse city with a population is almost evenly divided between African-Americans (33%), whites (32%) and Latinos (29%). But Chicago’s neighborhoods are highly segregated, according to Nate Silver at His analysis shows that while the city as a whole is diverse, the average resident is much less likely to live in a neighborhood with members of another ethnic group, with only 36% likely to do so.

When Silver combined a city’s potential for integration (the more diverse the population, the greater potential) with its neighborhood diversity index he came up with an integration-segregation index. Using that measurement, Chicago comes out the worst of any major city in the United States.

On the other end of the scale is Irvine, California, a well-to-do city in Orange County. It’s the most integrated major city in the country, meaning it has a diverse population both citywide and scattered throughout its neighborhoods.

Silver points out, however, that cities with large black populations tend to be more segregated and cities with smaller numbers of African Americans less so. This holds true in Irvine, where only 1.7% of its residents are black. Whites make up 45.7% of the population, followed by Asians at 38.2% and Hispanics at 9.8%. Irvine residents are also generally well off; the median income is $92,633, according to the 2010 Census.

-Steve Straehley

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