The University Record, August 12, 2002

How segregated is your city? Find the answer fast with U-M Web site

By Diane Swanbrow

News and Information Services

New 2000 Census racial segregation information for 1,246 U.S. cities and 318 metro areas is available online at CensusScope (

An easy tool for investigating U.S. demographic trends, CensusScope was developed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization.

The online segregation data and a related working paper released by the Fannie Mae Foundation provide the first comprehensive analysis of segregation patterns for smaller U.S. cities in addition to large metro areas.

“Users of the site can look up their metro area or city, then find out how it ranks in segregation for each racial and ethnic group identified, as well as multiracial individuals,” says William H. Frey, a

U-M demographer who heads CensusScope and who co-authored the report with University of Southern California demographer Dowell Myers.

Overall, the analyses show that people who identify themselves as multiracial live in less segregated communities than those identifying with a single race. On average, people who identify themselves as mixed race white and Black live in neighborhoods that are 61 percent white, while those who identify themselves as Black live in neighborhoods that are 29 percent white, and those who identify themselves as white live in neighborhoods that are 81 percent white.

The data also show that city and metro area segregation indices often differ considerably.

“The Detroit metro area ranks second among all areas on white-Black metro segregation, with an index of 87 out of 100,” Frey says. “But the city of Detroit ranks 55th in the nation among cities with more than 100,000 people, with an index of 63.”

An index number of 63 means that 63 percent of all whites (or Blacks) in the area would have to move in order for the white-Black population to be evenly distributed throughout that area.

On CensusScope, the new segregation data are presented in colorful graphs and maps, exportable tables and rankings, and sortable lists. Recently named a Yahoo pick-of-the-day, CensusScope also contains trend charts and tables on a growing list of other topics, including education, family structure, population growth, ancestry and ethnicity.

“Rather than overwhelming people with too much information, CensusScope interprets the latest 2000 Census data in a way that is intuitive and user-friendly,” Frey says.

Established in 1948, the Institute for Social Research is among the world’s oldest survey research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodology. Visit the ISR Web site at for more information.