A Chicago Transit Authority Green Line train travels West away from downtown Chicago, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Chicago. Census data shows the Chicago region has lost more residents than any other U.S. metropolitan area, a drop that comes as other Midwestern cities lost population and South and Southwest parts of the country saw gains. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

For those of you who believe in the “separate but equal” philosophy, you might want to think twice, especially if you live in Chicago.

It turns out the city’s segregation issue is actually costing residents economically, educationally and even in terms of homicides.  At least that’s what a recent report released by the Metropolitan Planning Council is suggesting.

The report, “The Cost of Segregation,” takes a look at data across 100 of America’s largest urban areas. It’s conclusion? That Chicago could benefit from integration in a number of ways.

The study argues that if the city reduced the levels of economic and Black-White segregation to the national medium:



  • Incomes for African-Americans in the Chicago region would rise an average of $2,982 per person per year.
  • The region as a whole would earn an additional $4.4 billion in income.
  • Chicago’s homicide rate would drop by 30 percent. That’s the equivalent of saving 229 lives.
  • 3,000 more people in the Chicagoland area would have bachelor’s degrees.

According to researchers, if the region’s homicide rate had been 30 percent lower in 2010, 167 more people would’ve lived that year, the region would’ve saved some $65 million in policing cost and residential real estate value would’ve increased by $6 billion.

“There is no way to fully account for a lost human life,” the report stated. “However, it is possible to tally a number of relevant direct and indirect costs. Using the region’s 2010 homicide rate—the most recent figures available at the regional level—our study found that the Chicago area could have boosted its economy simply by being a safer place to live.”

In regards to education data, the lifetime earnings gap between someone who has earned a high school diploma and a person with a four-year degree translates to about $1,078,446.

“Our research found a correlation between lower levels of segregation and a higher percentage of the population holding a bachelor’s degree, for both African-Americans and for Whites. This means the Chicago region is losing out on some $90 billion in total lifetime earnings as a result of our education gap.”

Click here for the full report.



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