Surprise…this just in. Big city markets are as racially segregated as ever. Another big surprise…racial segregation is most pronounced in cities where affordable housing is most scarce.

Apt List just released a study on racial segregation. It indicates that Milwaukee, New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Cleveland (in this order) are among the most racially segregated cities in America.

Chris Salviati, chief housing economist with Apt List, said, “Although this year represents the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, we (the United States) still have a long way to go to ensure that equality of opportunity is not negatively impacted by neighborhoods in which a person is raised.”

In addition to neighborhood divides impacted by racial segregation, racial divides exacerbate gaps in homeownership between white and nonwhite homeowners. Take a look.

  • 4% of whites own their own homes
  • 3% of Asians own their own homes
  • 4% of Hispanics own their own homes
  • 2% of African Americans own their own homes

You’ll note that some of the fastest growing populations are seeing the highest levels of segregation. Of course, gaps in homeownership rates vary by metro. Higher levels of residential segregation directly correlate with more severe the homeownership rate gaps.

Of course, you already know just by looking that many neighborhoods throughout the country are continuously defined by the combination of the dearth of affordable housing, ethnicity, social-economic status and historic trends.

Yes, the United States has a very long way to go to ensure that equality of opportunity is not negatively impacted by skin color and the neighborhoods in which people are raised.