A September 2013 report by the UNC Center for Civil Rights examines the connection between residential segregation in North Carolina and access to essential services and opportunities. “The State of Exclusion: An Empirical Analysis of the Legacy of Segregated Communities in North Carolina” maps the potential impacts of “community exclusion” in five areas: housing, environmental justice, voting rights, municipal services, and education. The report finds dramatic disparate impacts in housing, environmental justice, and education such that Latino and African American communities are significantly more affected by these barriers than the general state population.
Using census data, the report’s holistic analysis focuses on the interrelated and persistent and overlapping challenges faced by North Carolina’s “excluded communities,” comprised mainly of low-income non-white residents.
By mapping data on these measures of inclusion, the report specifically highlights the phenomenon of “municipal underbounding,” wherein “a municipality’s limits exclude a neighborhood that would otherwise be within the municipal limits based upon its location, density, and history.” Such underbounded communities may still be subject to the municipality’s zoning jurisdiction but are barred from voting in city elections and do not receive municipal services.
In examining housing disparities, “The State of Exclusion” report indicates that as home ownership is a crucial indicator of wealth, the percentage of people in a community that rent can show wealth disparity. While less than a third of the North Carolina general population lives in rental housing, more than half of excluded communities’ residents do.
To analyze environmental justice issues, the report examines how likely an excluded community is to be located near a solid waste facility, which often serves a nearby majority-white town. For example, while only 5% of the general population lives within one mile of a solid waste facility, more than 10% of majority-African American excluded communities do. The report also examines excluded communities’ proximity to quality public education, finding that Latino and African-American excluded communities are overall twice as likely compared to the general population to have a high-poverty or failing school as their closest elementary school.
The report’s accompanying website, http://www.uncinclusionproject.org/, allows North Carolina’s housing and other civil rights advocates to map excluded communities, presenting the opportunity for additional research on barriers to fair housing faced by vulnerable communities.
The full report is available on the Inclusion Project website: “The State of Exclusion: An Empirical Analysis of the Legacy of Segregated Communities in North Carolina.” (Executive Summary)