STUDY: American Schools Still Largely Segregated On Racial, Economic Lines

Nearly 60 years after American schools were desegregated by a landmark Supreme Court decision, they are still largely segregated along racial and socio-economic lines, an analysis of Department of Education found.

American schools have a larger share of African American and Latino students than ever before, but students from those groups are likely to attend schools with few white students, the study from the University of California, Los Angeles found, as the New York Times reports:

Across the country, 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of blacks attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their classmates are white, according to the report, released on Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

And more than one in seven black and Latino students attend schools where fewer than 1 percent of their classmates are white, according to the group’s analysis of enrollment data from 2009–2010, the latest year for which federal statistics are available.

The segregation isn’t limited to race: across the country, schools with high minority populations often have high low-income populations as well, and “typical black or Latino student attends a school where almost two out of every three classmates come from low-income families,” the Times reports.


The segregation of American schools has perpetuated and exacerbated the education gap that exists between black and Latino students and their white and Asian counterparts. American students from less-educated, lower-income backgrounds are less likely to go to college than they are in other countries, and even high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds are far less likely to complete college than similar students from upper-income backgrounds. That has suppressed economic mobility for blacks and Latinos, two groups already disadvantaged in the American economy.