America's Racial Divide

census graphic AP

In a diverse America, two of the most racially uniform cities sit just a few miles apart — one white, one black.

With 96.5 percent of its residents listing their race as white, Livonia, Mich., has the highest percentage of whites of any city of 100,000 or more people.

Nearby Detroit has the second-highest percentage of blacks, 82.8 percent of its residents.

Warren, Mich., also nearby, has the ninth-highest concentration of whites, 93.3 percent.

"Livonia was pretty much created by white flight and has stayed pretty much that," said demographer Kurt Metzger of Wayne State University in Detroit.

Most Racially Uniform Cities
Click here for a look at the American cities with the highest percentages of white and black residents.
In 1950, Livonia's population was 7,500, and by 1970 it was 110,000, he said. Warren is an older, blue collar city that's home to large numbers of Southern whites, Metzger added.

Carl Haub of the private Population Reference Bureau said Detroit is "the classic example of a Northern city that had a heavy migration from the south after World War II." This was followed by white flight from the inner city during the racial tensions of the 1960s, particularly after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Haub added.

In percentage of black population, only Gary, Ind., another Northern industrial city that drew large numbers of Southern blacks to its factories, topped Detroit, with 85.3 percent.

The city breakdowns were included in a pair of Census reports being issued Monday summarizing the geography of the black and white populations based on last year's national head count.

Other highlights of the reports:
  • Of the nation's 281.4 million residents, 216.9 million were white; 36.4 million were black.
  • The South was home to the largest share of both groups, 54 percent of blacks and 34 percent of whites. The Midwest has 19 percent of blacks and 25 percent of whites. Some 18 percent of blacks and 20 percent of whites lived in the Northeast. The West was home to 10 percent of blacks and 21 percent of whites.
  • New York City had the largest white population, 3.8 million. Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston had white populations of between 1 million and 2 million.
  • New York City also had the largest black population, 2.1 million, followed by Cicago, 1.1 million. Detroit, Philadelphia and Houston had black populations between 500,000 and 1 million.
  • The region with the highest proportion of people reporting as white in the total population was the Midwest with 85 percent. It was followed by the Northeast with 79 percent, the West with 74 percent and the South with 72 percent.
  • The region with the highest proportion of people reporting as black was the South, 20 percent; followed by the Northeast, 12 percent; the Midwest, 11 percent; and the West, 6 percent.
  • More than half (52 percent) of all people reporting as white lived in 10 states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and North Carolina.
  • The 10 states where 60 percent of blacks lived were New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan and Louisiana.



©MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments