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The Enduring Significance of Segregation

Residential segregation remains a perennial problem in major metropolitan areas across the United States. Many have focused on the effects of segregation on housing patterns, educational disparities, and the geographic concentration of poverty. This chapter explores how these and other results of residential segregation affect population health. Using as its backdrop the St. Louis, Missouri, metropolitan area—the fifth most-segregated metropolitan area in the nation—this chapter reviews the scientific literature on segregation and health outcomes. It also discusses potential strategies for addressing segregation in this local context and nationally. Much of the local discussion draws on For the Sake of All, a landmark study on the health and well-being of African Americans in St. Louis. An analysis of the cultural, psychological, political, and practical barriers to integration will also be presented.


Purnell, J. Q. (2018). The enduring significance of segregation. In M. W. Metzger  &  H. S. Webber (Eds.), Facing segregation: Housing policy solutions for a stronger society (pp. 58–74). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.