Richard D. Kahlenberg & Kimberly Quick

Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and is writing a book about housing segregation. Kimberly Quick is a senior policy associate at The Century Foundation and will be entering Harvard Law School in the fall. This article draws upon a Century Foundation report, “Attacking the Black–White Opportunity Gap That Comes from Residential Segregation.”

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The Government Created Housing Segregation. Here’s How the Government Can End It.

No policy limits African American income, wealth, and education as thoroughly as housing segregation. Herewith, a plan to end it.

While several progressive presidential candidates have focused on the important question of housing affordability, they have paid less attention to the equally important challenge posed by persistent housing segregation between white and black families. That imbalance is a big mistake if progressives hope to address the gaping racial inequalities in American society. More than 50 years after passage of the Fair Housing Act, black-white segregation remains strikingly high and imposes unfair burdens on black people even when they have the same income or education levels as whites. Indeed, housing segregation, which government officials engineered as a tool of white supremacy, poses one of the largest threats to racial equality in America today. Typically, higher levels of education and income translate into access to high-opportunity neighborhoods and the possibility of accumulating greater wealth. In the case of African Americans, however, residential segregation impedes access to...