Strides towards racial equality define American society. Yet, racial residential segregation remains an issue today despite efforts to remove this expression of racial inequality. Racial residential segregation can be defined as "the separation of racial groups in urban space" (Boustan, 2013, p.2). The definition covers five dimensions of segregation, which are 1) evenness measured by the dissimilarity index, 2) exposure measured by the isolation index, 3) concentration measured by the delta index, 4) centralization measured by the absolute centralization index, and 5) clustering measured by the spatial proximity index (Steinmetz, Weinberg, & Iceland, 2002). Analysis of census data using these measures shows some improvement in racial residential segregation but not enough to indicate the desired level of integration (Charles, 2003; Boustan, 2013). Persisting racial residential segregation has been linked to a wide range of negative consequences that affect black communities and the wider population. Addressing these consequences entails consideration of the causes of racial residential segregation and development of policy solutions targeting these causes. .
Causes of Racial Residential Segregation.
No single cause can explain the persistence of racial residential segregation. Several models that attempt to explain racial residential segregation can be considered together in order to have a more encompassing explanation of the persistence of racial residential segregation. One explanation for racial residential segregation is the racial threat theory (Kent & Carmichael, 2014). In segregated communities, limited inter-racial interaction and negative racial stereotyping lead whites to fear interaction with blacks. Individual and institutional efforts are made in order to prevent interaction with blacks. As a result, racial residential segregation persists. The racial threat theory can explain the persistence of racial residential segregation in terms of fear based on racial stereotyping.