A new report pub­lished by researchers at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity ranking public, pri­mary schools in the 100 largest U.S. met­ro­pol­itan areas finds that New Eng­land has four of the top 10 most seg­re­gated areas for His­panic stu­dents. Spring­field, Mass., is ranked second in the nation behind Los Angeles.

The report shows that 73 per­cent of His­panic stu­dents in Spring­field would have to switch schools for enroll­ment to become desegregated.

The researchers also found that seg­re­ga­tion was highest for black stu­dents, par­tic­u­larly in older Mid­west and North­east met­ro­pol­itan areas con­cluding that in Chicago, Mil­waukee, New York, Detroit, and Cleve­land, over 80 per­cent of black stu­dents would have to move to another school in order for the metro area to be com­pletely deseg­re­gated. Click here to read a story by The Boston Globe.

This year, stu­dents returned to schools that remain largely sep­a­rate and unequal,” says Nancy McArdle, adjunct asso­ciate pro­fessor in the Insti­tute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern’s Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences. “Many people are sur­prised to see that Spring­field, Boston, Hart­ford, and Prov­i­dence rank in the top 10 of most seg­re­gated areas for His­panic children.”

Overall, researchers found that black and His­panic chil­dren are dis­pro­por­tion­ately seg­re­gated and con­cen­trated in high-​​poverty schools com­pared to white chil­dren throughout the country’s major met­ro­pol­itan areas.

The fol­lowing table shows the top 10 most and least seg­re­gated metros for blacks and Hispanics:

Most seg­re­gated Most seg­re­gated Least seg­re­gated Least seg­re­gated
(black stu­dents) (His­panic students) (black stu­dents) (His­panic students)
1. Chicago, IL 1. Los Angeles, CA 1. Lake­land, FL 1. Hon­olulu, HI
2. Mil­waukee, WI 2. Spring­field, MA 2. El Paso, TX 2. Palm Bay, FL
3. New York, NY 3. New York, NY 3. Hon­olulu, HI 3. Raleigh, NC
4. Detroit, MI 4. Boston, MA 4. Boise City, ID 4. Vir­ginia Beach, VA
5. Cleve­land, OH 5. Hart­ford, CT 5. Albu­querque, NM 5. Lake­land, FL
6. Youngstown, OH 6. Cleve­land, OH 6. Modesto, CA 6. Augusta, GA
7. Syra­cuse, NY 7. Chicago, IL 7. Raleigh, NC 7. Jack­sonville, FL
8. Cincin­nati, OH 8. Mil­waukee, WI 8. Greenville, NC 8. Col­orado Springs., CO
9. Spring­field, MA 9. Prov­i­dence, RI 9. Las Vegas, NV 9. Akron, OH
10. Indi­anapolis, IN 10. Allen­town, PA 10. Santa Rosa, CA 10. Toledo, OH

Some of the report’s key find­ings include:

• Enroll­ment is already “majority-​​minority” nation­ally but dif­fers sub­stan­tially across regions, with the West being almost two-​​thirds minority.
• Res­i­den­tial seg­re­ga­tion and school assign­ment plans lead to high levels of school racial seg­re­ga­tion, par­tic­u­larly for blacks.
• Met­ro­pol­itan areas with the highest school poverty rates are con­cen­trated in Cal­i­fornia and the Deep South.
• 43 per­cent of black and His­panic stu­dents attend schools with poverty rates over 80 per­cent, com­pared to 4 per­cent of white stu­dents.
• Even within the same metro areas, black and His­panic stu­dents attend schools with dra­mat­i­cally higher poverty rates than whites or Asians. Bridge­port and Hart­ford have the largest disparities.

Based on 2008-​​09 school year data from the National Center for Edu­ca­tion Sta­tis­tics, the report, “Seg­re­ga­tion and Expo­sure to High-​​Poverty Schools in Large Met­ro­pol­itan Areas,” is pub­lished by www​.diver​si​ty​data​.org, an online resource devel­oped by the three North­eastern co-​​authors: McArdle; Dolores Acevedo-​​García, asso­ciate pro­fessor and asso­ciate director of the Insti­tute on Urban Health Research; and Theresa Osypuk, assis­tant pro­fessor of health sciences.

In addi­tion, researchers point to links between racial iso­la­tion and con­cen­trated poverty. They said chil­dren in high-​​poverty schools face large chal­lenges, such as lower stu­dent grad­u­a­tion rates, less involved par­ents, and less expe­ri­enced teachers.

To address inequal­i­ties, they said national poli­cies must lead to stronger enforce­ment of fair housing laws, improving school and neigh­bor­hood quality, and allowing stu­dents to cross dis­trict bound­aries to attend better schools.

Schools should be designed to pre­pare all our stu­dents to excel,” said Acevedo-​​García. “The fact that such gross levels of dis­parity con­tinue in Amer­ican public schools must not be met with apathy or accep­tance but be con­fronted to ensure that our chil­dren and our nation can thrive in an increas­ingly diverse and chal­lenging world.”