Residential Integration in the Suburbs: What Happened in Metropolitan Detroit and Why

Reynolds Farley , University of Michigan

Following the July 1967 violence in Detroit that led to 43 deaths; President Johnson appointed the Kerner Commission and they quickly and famously observed - that if present policies continued, the nation’s metropolises would soon consist of a central city with an overwhelmingly low-income minority population and a largely white and much more prosperous suburban ring. Their conclusions were based, in large part, upon their analysis of Detroit and similar Rust Belt cities. Fifty years later, the city of Detroit has an 80% minority population with a high poverty rate of 35%. However, the middle class African-American population, since 1990, has moved to the suburban ring where segregation levels – in both neighborhoods and schools – are moderate to low. This analysis describes what happened in Detroit and explores why.

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 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization