By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
The price of segregation is strangling the economic and social progress of Chicago. The city is losing billions of dollars in wages, increased homicides and fewer college degrees, according to a study released by Alden Loury, director of research, Metropolitan Planning Council.
In an interview with the Chicago Crusader, Loury said, “The research shows that as you have increased levels of segregation in a region, you have increased levels of homicide, lower levels of income and lower levels of people earning bachelor degrees.”
The study showed that “if we were less segregated, we would have fewer homicides, more people earning bachelor degrees and more people earning more income at dramatic levels,” he said.
Loury said the study shows that there would be 30 percent fewer homicides, have an additional $4.4 billion in income each year and 83,000 more people would have bachelor degrees. “All of those things have an impact on a region as a whole.”
Asked how would he sell Chicago leaders on integration, Loury said, “The solution would be integration but not solely integration. Segregation is costing us so desegregating or having a more integrated region is beneficial.
“But we think these costs are borne out of things that can be remedied without necessarily integrated.
“The ways in which we have deep inequalities with regard to race, income, as we are moving into a space of talking about how do we address the segregation and the effects of that segregation, we think we can have a broader conversation about addressing inequality” with policies not necessarily designed to desegregate or integrate.
Over the next several months, Loury said researchers will be talking to a number of people about what can they do to address segregation and inequality.
When asked would one solution be to have an equal playing field for all ethnic groups, Loury said, “Indeed.”
In Chicago, he said people are segregated by race, and income and said if you compare the south side of Chicago to parts of the north side or far southern suburbs, you will see “very clear differences in race and income, but the reasons for those differences may not be solely the level of segregation.’’
According to the study, segregation also holds back entire regions including preventing young people from going into business. Segregation affects everyone, the study concluded. “Our social fabric and our economy will be stronger if we all have more opportunities to live, work and go to school with one another.”