The United States has become increasingly segregated by class, while class differences themselves have been rising.
In a study of residential housing patterns, the Pew Research Center demonstrates that residential segregation by income has increased during the past three decades across the United States and in 27 of the nation’s 30 largest major metropolitan areas.
The analysis finds that 28 percent of lower-income households in 2010 were located in a majority lower-income census tract, up from 23 percent in 1980, and that 18 percent of upper- income households were located in a majority upper-income census tract, up from 9 percent in 1980.
While residential income segregation has increased in Chicago, as elsewhere in the country, the change there is actually somewhat less than in other major U.S. cities, such as Houston, Dallas, and Miami.
Another interesting finding is that, class and racial segregation are actually moving in opposite directions. While segregation according to income has been increasing, residential segregation by race has been on the decline. Still, residential isolation by race remains greater than residential isolation by income. For example, in 2010, 42 percent of blacks lived in a census tract that was majority black, compared with 28 percent of low-income households living in a majority low-income tract and 18 percent of upper-income households living in a majority upper-income tract. And while black-white segregation continues to decline in America, residential segregation of Hispanic and Asian Americans has likely increased.
The fact is, the United States is a country of longstanding racial segregation and, as the distribution of income has become more unequal, increasing class segregation.