Residential Segregation Down for U.S. Blacks; but Group Still Most Racially isolated.(PAGE ONE)

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Miller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Black Americans experienced a notable decline in residential segregation between 1980 and 2000, but they remain the most racially isolated of minority groups, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2000, blacks were 10 percent more likely to interact with whites than 20 years ago, the study, "Racial and Ethnic Residential Segregation in the United States: 1980-2000," found, creating a black-white relationship that is less segregated than ever before.

Over the same period, Hispanics and Asians saw increases in segregation, which the study attributes to their status as relative newcomers.

Non-Hispanic whites were used as the reference group for the report, meaning the results reflected the relationship between the minority groups and whites.

"African-Americans appear to be leaving urban areas and going to the suburbs," said Daniel H. Weinberg, a Census Bureau analyst who co-authored the study with John Iceland. "What jumped off the page to me was that this decline in segregation applied in every category that we examined."

The report did not explore reasons for the drop in segregation, but Mr. Weinberg said that "some will say there is less discrimination so African-Americans can move to other areas. Some will say that [people] like to live with people like them."

Mr. Weinberg said residential segregation stems from several factors, including personal choice about where to live and income-imposed restrictions.

"The bottom line is that if you live in a neighborhood where everybody is like you, you are less likely to run into people of a different race," he said.

The phenomenon of "black flight," the movement of increasingly prosperous blacks moving away from urban areas, could also play a role in the lessening segregation, Mr. …