Census Data Analysis Spurs Discussion About Segregation in Greater Springfield

Members of the Springfield City Council will meet with state lawmakers and leaders from organizations around the city this afternoon to discuss segregation in greater Springfield. According to a University of Michigan analysis of census data, the metro area was designated as one of the most segregated in the country.

More than sixty percent of Latinos in metro-Springfield would have to move to be distributed in a smiliar way to the area’s white residents. According to the study, that makes Springfield the most segregated metro-area in the country regarding whites and Latinos — ahead of Los Angeles, New York and Providence. And it’s the twenty-second most segregated relative to African Americans and whites. Springfield City Council Vice PresIdent Bud Williams says the city itself is racially and ethnically diverse but not integrated.

“You have the cluster of the Hispanic community in the North end and the  cluster of the African American community basically in Mason Square.”

Many surrounding communities make up “metro-Springfield” and were included in the analysis. And Census Data reports more than eighty percent of the residents in four municipalities adjacent to the city are white — in Longmeadow, Agawam, Chicopee and West Springfield. Williams says zoning plays a big role.

“Their lot requirements are a lot larger. And then, for example, some of our bedroom communities, there isn’t any low income housing to speak of.”

Williams says African American and Latino community members have been invited to participate. He says he hopes to name an ad hoc committee to delve further into the study and examine mixed income housing models for the region.