The bar graphs below illustrate the divergent fortunes of America’s minorities in terms of living in the best neighborhoods. Asian-American are over-represented (compared to their percentage of all Americans) in every category… particularly in wealthy urban neighborhoods. African-Americans are much less likely to be found in either central cities or suburbia. Hispanics have penetrated the nations best neighborhoods more broadly and deeply than Blacks, but are still woefully under represented in America’s landscapes of wealth.
Whether one examines bastions of Liberalism such as Newton, Massachusetts or the Upper East Side of Manhattan , or citadels of Conservatism such as Mountain Brook, Alabama or Highland Park, Texas, there are precious few African-American or Hispanic households. Non-Hispanic Whites continue to dominate almost every “landscape of wealth” across the country.
African-American’s are the least likely to reside in the wealthiest neighborhoods in America. Although Blacks made-up 11.2% of all United States households in the 2000 Census, they only make-up 1.2% of the households in the mainly suburban Higley 1000 and strikingly, only 3.8% of the residents in central city neighborhoods. When one considers that the pool of wealthy Black households (1o2,287 households earned more than $200,000 a year in the 2000 Census) is almost as large as the number of wealthy Asian households (110,935), the question this study points to is, where are they? There is much research still to be done to find the geographical choices America’s wealthiest African-American households. It is clear that geographical patterns of wealthy African-Americans are significantly different compared to Non-Hispanic Whites or Asians.
When one examines the Higley 1000, there are an astounding 478 neighborhoods where there are no African-Americans households whatsoever, and an additional 137 neighborhoods with an insignificant tally of less than 1% of all households.
Latinos are also much less likely to be found in America’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Although they made up 8.8% of all households in the United States, they contribute only 2.3% of the households found in the Higley 1000. Hispanics are much better represented in the 50 Urban neighborhoods studied with 5.8% of all households. Although Hispanic-Americans are more broadly found in the Higley 1000, there are still a substantial 314 places that have no Latino households, and and additional 99 places have less than 1%
The Hispanic numbers are skewed by the unusual Cuban experience in Miami. The Cuban exodus that followed Castro’s expropriation of private property in the late 50’s brought much of Cuba’s upper-middle class to the Miami area. With a socio-economic headstart that few immigrants have, Cubans have become prominent residents in most of Miami’s wealthy neighborhoods. Nine of the ten wealthiest Hispanic neighborhoods are found in and around the Miami area.
It is noteworthy that there are few Latino households to be found in the wealthy neighborhoods of metro areas that have large concentrations of Mexican households. Whether one examines Los Angeles, Phoenix, or Houston, Mexican representation in the Higley 1000 is minimal.
Although practically all Asian-Americans chafe at the description of being a “model minority”, they have certainly tapped into the American dream of living in the best neighborhoods. Asian-Americans are found in the Higley 1000 to a much greater extent than the general population. Although only 2.9% of all American households were Asian in the 2000 Census, they made up 4.4% of the Higley 1000 households and are even more likely to be found in urban neighborhoods (6.5%).
Asians are heavily represented in wealthy California neighborhoods, particularly the San Francisco Bay area. Although Asians are found throughout the region, wealthy Asians are most heavily concentrated in the San Jose-Milpitas-Fremont corridor.
In spite of Asian-Americans relatively well representation in the Higley 1000, there are still 245 place with no Asians and an additional 51 places with less than 1%.
On the other hand, 118 places in the Higley 1000 were more than 10% Asian (vs. 30 Hispanic neighborhoods and a mere 12 Black neighborhoods).
Unfortunately, I was unable to breakout the various subcategories of Asians (Chinese, Indian, Hmong etc.) as these stats are only available at the Census Tract level and not at the Block Group level.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that Non-Hispanic White totally dominate America’s wealthiest neighborhoods and suburbs with 90.4% of all households. In fact, Non-Hispanic Whites are only in a minority in 12 places on the Higley 1000. There are 68 places that are 100% Non-Hispanic White, and 377 of the Higley 1000 neighborhoods are more than 95% White.
What is very interesting about this study is the degree to which Non-Hispanic Whites are so dominant in urban neighborhoods as well. I was surprised to find out that they makeup 82% of urban residents in 50 of America’s wealthiest and best known city neighborhoods. Their numbers were even higher than their percentage of the entire population.
The bottom line is whether city or suburb, Non-Hispanic Whites dominate America’s wealthiest places.