Moving toward Integration: The Past and Future of Fair Housing

Moving Toward Integration

Reducing residential segregation is the best way to reduce racial inequality in the United States. African American employment rates, earnings, test scores, even longevity all improve sharply as residential integration increases. Yet far too many participants in our policy and political conversations have come to believe that the battle to integrate America's cities cannot be won. Richard H. Sander, Yana A. Kucheva, and Jonathan M. Zasloff write that the pessimism arises from an inadequate understanding of how segregation has evolved and how policy interventions have already set many metropolitan areas on the path to integration.

Moving toward Integration provides the most definitive account to date of how fair housing laws were shaped and implemented and why they had a much larger impact in some parts of the country than others. It uses fresh evidence and better analytic tools to show when factors like exclusionary zoning and income differences between blacks and whites pose substantial obstacles to broad integration, and when they do not.

Offering the first comprehensive analysis of American housing segregation, Moving toward Integration explains why racial segregation has been resilient even in an increasingly diverse and tolerant society, and it demonstrates how public policy can align with demographic trends to achieve broad housing integration within a generation.

Praise for the Book

"This is a landmark book. … Moving toward Integration is model of scholarship but one that also provides powerful lessons for politicians and policy makers who want to create an America that works for everyone."

--Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, and columnist, The Washington Post

"In Moving toward Integration, the Sander team has produced precisely what America desperately needs: a hard-headed analysis, deeply informed by new empirical data and methodologies, that shows how many metro areas and neighborhoods have been reducing racial segregation and lays out a multi-pronged strategy to finish the job.  This highly readable book should become the leading account of how to strengthen the fight against housing segregation, perhaps the largest remaining barrier to racial equality."   

--Peter Schuck, Baldwin Professor of Law Emeritus, Yale University

"Professors Sander, Kucheva, Zasloff skillfully analyze the historic data from 1865 to the present day proving that racial integration has an enormously powerful effect on lifting people out of poverty. … Their analysis provides the foundation for a bipartisan anti-poverty, pro-opportunity agenda that every American, Democrat and Republican, can champion."

--Carla Hills, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

"Housing segregation of low-income African Americans is the great unfinished business of the civil rights movement, depriving too many of our fellow citizens access to good schools and jobs.  Richard Sander, Yana Kucheva and Jonathan Zasloff provide a brilliant mix of sweeping history, insightful social science and compelling policy proposals.  On a topic that can be deeply discouraging, this splendid book left me genuinely optimistic about a path forward."

--Richard Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

"Pairing their deep knowledge of legal history with a new analysis of household-level mobility and residential locations, the authors document the striking achievements of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, countering the narrative that policy support for integration has been toothless or a failure. Going forward, the combination of changing demographics and targeted policy, can move us incrementally – but meaningfully – toward integration."

---Leah Boustan, Professor of Economics, Princeton University

Media Links

Los Angeles Times, "Why Are African Americans Better Off in San Diego than St. Louis? Fair Housing." by Richard Sander. April 15, 2018

Slate, "How to Make Fair Housing Truly Fair," by Jonathan Zasloff, April 11, 2018

The Hill, "50 Years after the Fair Housing Act, Bipartisanship Is Still Hard, But Possible," by Richard Sander, April 5, 2018