December 14, 2004

Guy Stuart (Associate Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School)

Though Greater Boston is becoming more diverse as a whole, most of the region’s residents still live in relatively segregated neighborhoods and communities, according to data from the 2000 U.S. census. There are signs, however, that integration is still possible, and that the region’s minority populations are themselves unusually diverse. Specifically, this report finds:

  • Greater Boston is becoming more diverse
  • Greater Boston is still largely white
  • Many of Greater Boston’s non-whites and Latinos live in satellite cities
  • Greater Boston’s non-white and Latino communities are unusually diverse
  • Integration is possible

Combined, these trends suggest that Boston is at a crossroads. One road leads to the consolidation of segregation and the growing isolation of people of different races and ethnicities, with the region’s satellite cities becoming ever more isolated minority ghettos. The other road leads to integration—a diverse mix of populations throughout the metropolitan region. Traveling the latter road, however, will require concerted effort on the part of policymakers and residents alike to encourage and embrace creative opportunities for integration.


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