University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Focus & Focus+ 34(4), March 2019
Racial Residential Segregation

The two articles in this issue address the topic of racial residential segregation. The first article summarizes the May 2018 Robert J. Lampman Memorial Lecture given by Richard Rothstein. Rothstein presented a history of residential segregation in the United States, arguing that racial inequality is due in part to government policies from the 1930s to the 1960s that mandated residential segregation of African Americans. These and other race-based policies helped to create both income and wealth gaps between blacks and whites. The second article, by Jackelyn Hwang, Michael Hankinson, and Kreg Steven Brown, provides an in-depth quantitative analysis of the effects of racial residential segregation on subprime loans and the recent housing foreclosure crisis. The authors find that metropolitan areas with higher levels of segregation had higher concentrations of subprime loans in minority neighborhoods compared to less segregated metropolitan areas. In particular, subprime loans appear to have been targeted to relatively large, geographically concentrated minority areas within segregated metropolitan areas. This issue also includes a new feature, “Research to watch,” providing a brief overview of a forthcoming paper by Jacob W. Faber, which suggests that racial residential segregation creates easily identifiable markets for “alternative” financial services such as payday lenders and check cashers.

This issue features an electronic supplement, Focus+, which includes links to additional readings and videos related to the articles in the issue. This resource may be particularly useful in the classroom.

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