These Colorado Cities Have Been Named the Most Racist Cities in the State


Colorado is known for its beautiful scenery, fun outdoor activities, and liberal government. But it has a bad side too: racism. A new study from the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley says that Denver, Colorado is one of the most divided towns in the country.

Roots of Structural Racism

From 1990 to 2019, the study called “The Roots of Structural Racism Project” looked at the racial makeup and segregation of every U.S. urban area and city with more than 200,000 people. The study found that over time, 81% of areas and 99% of towns became more segregated, which was bad for communities of color.

The study used several different tools to measure division. These included the dissimilarity index, which shows how evenly two groups are spread out across a region, and the isolation index, which measures how much a group is exposed to its members. The study also looked at the historical and legal reasons behind segregation, like sundown towns, redlining, and limited covenants.

People of color are not allowed in a “sundown town,” which means they have to leave by sundown, either by rule or because they are afraid of being hurt. Wikipedia says that the first laws that made it illegal for African Americans and other racial minorities to move around were passed during the colonial period. After Reconstruction ended, thousands of towns and counties across the United States were turned into “sundown locales.”

Denver: A Segregated City

The study said that Denver was an extremely segregated city, which means that at least one racial group found it to be more than 60 times different from other groups and more than 40 times isolated.

The study found that between 1990 and 2019, Denver’s distance between whites and blacks rose from 61.3 to 64.4, and between 1990 and 2019, its distance between blacks rose from 41.4 to 44.9. The study also said that between 1990 and 2019, Denver’s difference between whites and Latinos rose from 47.4 to 50.8, and between 1990 and 2019, Denver’s Latinos rose from 35.8 to 39.5.

Based on these numbers, Denver has become more segregated along racial lines over time, with black and white people living in different and less equal areas. The study also found that in Denver, segregated communities of color have lower incomes, home prices, homeownership rates, and poverty rates than either isolated white neighborhoods or areas that are mixed-race.

The report didn’t look into why Denver is so segregated, but some possible reasons are the effects of discriminatory housing policies, the displacement of low-income residents due to gentrification, the lack of affordable housing and public transportation, and the fact that racism and prejudice are still common.

Colorado Springs: A City with Integration

Colorado Springs, on the other hand, was called an “integrated city” by the study. This means that it had a dissimilarity index of less than 40 and a separation index of less than 30 for all race groups. The dissimilarity index for whites and blacks in Colorado Springs went down from 38.6 in 1990 to 36.7 in 2019, according to the study.

The isolation index for blacks also went down, from 21.9 to 19.9 that same period. That same year, the study found that Colorado Springs’s dissimilarity index for whites and Latinos went down from 33.9 to 32.7, and its isolation index for Latinos went down from 22.6 to 21.4.

Over time, these numbers show that Colorado Springs has become more racially diverse and welcoming, with more mixed-race and fair-living places for black and white people. The study also showed that families living in Colorado Springs mixed communities make more money, own more homes, and are less likely to be poor than families living in segregated communities or the national average.

The study didn’t look into why Colorado Springs became more integrated, but military bases and institutions, the large number of immigrants and refugees, the growth of religious and social groups, and efforts to promote acceptance and kindness are all possible reasons.

Final Words

Finally, the Othering & Belonging Institute report reveals the enormous differences in racial segregation between Denver and Colorado Springs. Denver, which has been characterized as extremely segregated, is seeing rising inequities, whereas Colorado Springs is recognized as an integrated city that promotes racial diversity and inclusive living circumstances. The report underlines the importance of addressing structural challenges that contribute to segregation in Denver, while also celebrating significant improvements in Colorado Springs.

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