For this exercise, we’re going to take a closer look at racial/ethnic segregation in neighborhoods. This site provides data on segregation across the U.S. based on the 2010 Census.First, some instructions on how to navigate the site, and how to interpret the data.On the website that is linked above, scroll down until you see these three boxes, shown in the image below.We’re going to use the first box that will show us segregation data for cities. Select a state, then select a city, and click submit.After that, the page will first show some data on the racial/ethnic composition of the city, but what we’re interested in is the data on segregation, so scroll down a little bit until you see the “Index of Dissimilarity.” The example below is for the city of Austin, Texas.The bars show the index of dissimilarity for each pair of racial groups, for each of the time periods listed. For example, the bars I have circled show the index of dissimilarity between Black Americans and Asian Americans. The bottom bar (the one that is in orange) shows that in 2010, the index of dissimilarity for Black Americans and Asian Americans is 54.7.Here’s how to interpret this number: The index of dissimilarity tells us whether one racial group is distributed across the different neighborhoods in the city in the same way as another racial group. A higher number means that these two groups tend to live in different neighborhoods in the city (high racial segregation), whereas a lower number means these two groups tend to live in the same neighborhoods (low racial segregation). The number also represents the percentage of residents of either racial group that would need to move to a different neighborhood for segregation to be eliminated.So for the example in the image I’ve provided, we can say that: 54.7% of Black Americans or Asian Americans in Austin, Texas, would need to move to a different neighborhood in the city in order to eliminate segregation between these two racial groups.Now, here are the actual instructions for answering the exercise.Look up a city that you’re interested in on the website (it can be the city you grew up in, the city you’d like to visit, the city your close friend is from, etc.).Choose two racial/ethnic groups to compare in terms of their segregation with each other. (In my example above, we looked at segregation between Blacks and Asians, which means I ignored the bars and numbers for all the other racial group pairings.Write down the index of dissimilarity for those two racial groups in 2010. (In my example, the index was 54.7.)Write a statement interpreting the index of dissimilarity. Your statement should look similar to this: ” 54.7% of Black Americans or Asian Americans in Austin, Texas, would need to move to a different neighborhood in the city in order to eliminate segregation between these two racial groups.”Repeat steps 1 through 4 for a second city you’re interested in. In addition to choosing a different city, you can also choose a different pair of racial groups if you’d like, or you can stick to the same pair of racial groups you used for the first city.Finally, write a short paragraph discussing how racial/ethnic segregation in neighborhoods can be harmful or beneficial. You can draw from your own experiences (for example, what was the racial/ethnic diversity at your high school, and how did that affect your education?), or you can refer to the textbook or the additional materials.
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