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Study finds integration could boost the Chicago-area’s economy

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017

* A different sort of Turnaround Agenda. Tribune

The Chicago region’s deeply entrenched patterns of segregation extract a steep price in lost lives and unrealized economic growth, according to a study to be unveiled Tuesday.

The seven-county area’s murder rate could be cut by 30 percent, its economy could churn out an additional $8 billion in goods and services and its African-American residents could earn another $3,000 a year if it could reduce racial and economic segregation to the median level for the nation’s largest metro areas.

And 83,000 more residents could have earned bachelor’s degrees, spurring another $90 billion in collective lifetime earnings.

Those were the findings of a study by the Metropolitan Planning Council, a Chicago-based public policy research group, and the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.

* From the MPC

The Metropolitan Planning Council, together with Urban Institute and a team of regional policy advisors, analyzed segregation patterns in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country. We examined three types of segregation: economic segregation, African American-white segregation and Latino-white segregation. We then examined what impacts we would see if the Chicago region reduced its levels of segregation to the median levels of segregation of the nation’s 100 biggest metros.

* The full report is here. From the “Next Steps” section

For now, we know that we can create a more robust regional economy by making our city and suburbs less racially and economically segregated. The second phase of this initiative will identify how we can accelerate our rate of desegregation and create a more inclusive, prosperous path forward for all. That work will include developing a projected baseline scenario for the Chicago region that assumes the continuation of our current patterns of racial and economic segregation and an alternative vision that incorporates policy changes in housing, transportation, public safety, health and education.

* And this is an important point

Chicago’s present-day segregation did not occur overnight and it was not a process that occurred “naturally.” Private and public policies and programs built our divides: Restrictive housing covenants. Urban renewal. Redlining. Predatory lending and the massive foreclosures that followed. Illegal discrimination against housing voucher holders. It is not merely by chance that public school quality closely follows the racial composition of the student body, or that after the housing bubble, property values have recovered or even risen in well-to-do, largely white communities while they remain well below for much the South and West sides of Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    This is the kind of issue that should lead to policy and legislation to improve the State’s economy.

    Instead we get a tired old Republican wish list (term limits, gutting collective bargaining) dressed up as “to improve the economy.”


  2. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    Yes we should remove government obstacles that hinder movement of people. That seems easy and I think it has largely been done.

    I am having trouble with the leap from correlation to causation. It makes little sense that simply living next to white folk will improve the economic and educational performance of black or Latino folk.


  3. - Archiesmom - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    When I moved to the Chicago area, I actively looked for a diverse neighborhood. While folks were suggesting Glen Ellyn and Winnetka, Naperville and Aurora, I chose the south suburbs. Better housing for a lower cost, and people around me with different skin color and ethnicities. Haven’t regretted it for a minute. Okay, every time I look at my house’s appraisal, which has never recovered from the bubble bursting…


  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    ===Okay, every time I look at my house’s appraisal===

    And, I’m assuming, your property tax bill.


  5. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    Having grown up on the Southside, I find it hard to believe that Chicago isn’t obeying housing laws, laws on integration, and discriminating to a point where our economy is being retarded by it.

    What is the goal? What are the cities doing this better, and how could we enact similar laws, if that is what is required?

    I find their report to be strange, like it’s from 1957, or something. I find it hard to believe.


  6. - Archiesmom - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    = property tax bill =

    Not so pretty. And going to love it less when local governments have to fund even more out of my hide. I’d rather pay a progressive income tax. Really.


  7. - DuPage - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    @Archiesmom ==property tax bill==not so pretty==

    Are you in Cook County? DuPage county gives new

    meaning to the term “high taxes”. Lake, Kane,

    and the other collars are right up there with

    DuPage. Cook has much, much lower taxes.


  8. - walker - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    VanMan: Fair Housing Regulations started having some impact, in some areas by the late 70s. They were a reaction to bad practices in residential real estate and lending specifically in Chicagoland, and apartment leasing in NYC, specifically the Trump company. The changes in practices in NY and many other cites was realitively swift, but when I moved to Chicago suburbs in 1984, I was shocked that they were still stuck in the 50’s on RE practices. Open, even proud of racial discrimination. Not current on these issues, but would bet significant discriminatory practices still abound.


  9. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    I was hopeful to find something of value in the report, but all it was was a statement of how bad Illinois is and how much better it would be if it was not so bad.

    No explanation of how decreasing segregation achieves the increases in education and average income. There is a big jump from correlation to causation as mentioned above. The report makes no attempt to explain their logic.

    Someone consumed valuable resources to write this?


  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    The Federal court order by Judge Austin, back in the day, requiring scattered site public housing, still is not being implemented mostly due to city government empowering NIMBY constituents.


  11. - JackD - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    Sorry, anonymous above is me.


  12. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 10:25 pm:

    Chicago’s status as the most segregated big city in America resulted from generations of discrimination, both de facto and de jure. It’s a tad disingenuous to say everything is fine now and no action is needed to undue the segregation.


  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 30, 17 @ 3:37 am:

    Facts like these get in the way of the right-wing message of; Race,Rights & Taxes.


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