Monday, August 10, 2015

Equal Opportunity

Rochester, and the Rust Belt in general, are often pinned as being segregated.  Old industrial cities in America are thought to have invisible barriers which fall along racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and educational lines.  As such, the term "melting pot" is usually replaced by "Wegmans food container with separate compartments."  (That last part is not true.)  Without any doubt, in the city of Rochester educational attainment is underrepresented and poverty is overrepresented (and these statistics tend to fall along racial and ethnic lines.)

But exactly how segregated is the Rochester metro area? Here is one source that suggests not very, at least compared to other large metro areas.  The study, which addressed the segregation of college graduates from those without college degrees within America's metros, identified Rochester as the 8th least segregated large metro.  More segregated large metro areas tend to have more gentrification and high-end neighborhoods which price out certain parts of the population.  Furthermore, more segregated regions tend to have greater wage inequality.  One would imagine that these findings help explain Rochester's relatively affordable housing even in highly touted school districts.

So the next time our local newspapers insist on emphasizing the presence of two Rochesters, please feel free to remind them that the two Rochesters are much closer together than the two LA's, two Dallases, and two Chicagos.

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