Integrated suburbs represent some of the nation's greatest hopes and its gravest challenges. The rapidly growing diversity of the United States, which is reflected in the rapid changes seen in suburban communities, suggests a degree of declining racial bias and at least the partial success of fair-housing laws.
Yet the fragile demographic stability in these newly integrated suburbs—as well as the rise of poor, virtually nonwhite suburbs—presents serious challenges for local, state and federal governments.
Locally, in 2000, 5 percent of the population of the Twin Cities region lived in diverse suburbs. By 2010, that number had jumped to 23 percent. There were 29 suburban municipalities in the Twin Cities that qualified as "diverse suburbs" in 2010. Many of these areas are in the midst of rapid racial change.
For instance, the nonwhite share of the population increased by more than 20 percentage points between 2000 and 2010 in Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights and Brooklyn Park. The change was more than 15 points in Fridley, Richfield, Shakopee and Maplewood. Overall, the nonwhite share of the population in the Twin Cities' 29 diverse suburbs increased by more than 13 percentage points on average between 2000 and 2010, the fourth-highest rate among the country's 50 largest metropolitan areas.
The article is based on a new report from the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School, where Orfield is director.
See the PDFs with this post for:
- The full report, "America's Racially Diverse Suburbs: Opportunities and Challenges"
- Graphs highlighting aspects of diversity in the Twin Cities metro area