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January 18, 2011

New Jersey remains a segregated state, at least vast parts of it do, according to a recent study by the American Communities Project and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Fair Share Housing Center of Cherry Hill points to the survey and notes that the Newark metropolitan region, which encompasses Essex, Union, Morris, Sussex and Warren Counties, has not become much less segregated than it was in 1970. According to the report, the degree of white/black segregation, called the Index of Dissimilarity, is 79.6. In 1970 it was 81.4. The number represents the percentage of each racial group that would have to move in order to be equally distributed across a region. The report says that any number above 60 is considered very high.

Other regions of the state perform better on this metric but are also high. Bergen and Passaic Counties scored 71.9. The Philadelphia/NJ region, which includes Camden, Gloucester, Burlington and Salem Counties, in addition to such Philadelphia suburbs as Bucks County, scored 71.5. The Trenton region, which includes Mercer County, scored 62.7; Monmouth and Ocean Counties, 59.3; Atlantic and Cape May Counties, 58.4; and the region including Middlesex, Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, 52.2.

All statistics cited here are for white/black segregation. The study also looked at the rate of integration between whites, Hispanics and Asians, and the integration of minorities with one another. These groups tended to be better integrated with whites, although not always to a large degree.

Kevin Walsh of the Fair Share Housing Center notes that while the Newark region has barely changed in 40 years, in terms of segregation, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s hometown of Atlanta has declined from 82.1 to 60 during that same period.

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