NLC Research Report Includes Glimpse at Race Relations in Cities

Article excerpt

A section of the sixteenth annual "State of America's Cities report, focuses on race relations in the United States.

The findings of this section of the survey include:

The survey findings show that a large majority of' U.S. cities and regions have experienced a trend toward greater diversity. Six in ten city officials say that the racial and/or ethnic composition of their cities (59%) and regions (58%) is more diverse now compared to five years ago.

Thirty-seven percent of city officials report that the racial/ethnic composition of their cities is about the same, and a similar proportion (39%) share the same view about their regions. Small percentages believe that their cities (4%) and regions (3%) have become less racially and/or ethnically diverse over the last five years.

Many city officials report improvements in the climate of race/ethnic relations in their cities and, to a lesser extent, in their regions compared to five years ago. Forty-four percent of city officials say that race/ethnic relations in their cities are better (32%) or much better (12%), compared to about one-third (32%) who say the same about race/ethnic relations in their regions.

About half of city officials say that there has been no perceivable change in race/ethnic relations in the city (47%) or region (50%) compared to five years ago. One in ten city officials (9%) believe that race/ethnic relations in the city have gotten worse (8%) or much worse (1%), and about one in five (18%) city officials observe worsening race/ethnic relations in the larger region (17%--worse; 1%--much worse).

A measure of more recent race/ethnic relations in cities reveals similar, though somewhat less positive trends.

One in five (22%) local officials observe that race/ethnic relations in their cities have improved over the past year, compared to the nearly half who have witnessed improvements over the last five years.

One in ten (10%) city officials indicate that race/ethnic relations in their cities have gotten worse over the past year--similar to the five-year assessment.

While many local officials report improving race/ethnic relations in their cities, a significant number also continue to struggle with this issue in their communities. …