January 1, 2009
and Intergenerational Inequality in the United States
In this policy brief, Patricia Gándara and Gary Orfield argue that housing segregation is a fundamental mechanism of inequality in metropolitan societies and education is the central way that the inequality is transmitted to the next generation. Housing policy is often discussed in terms of its physical features, design, and healthy conditions, but stratification, inequality and denial of equal opportunity are primarily about location. Location is very heavily priced into housing costs everywhere because it involves prestige, convenience, social contacts and networks, peer groups for children, contacts that may lead to jobs, safety and comfort in daily life, and, importantly, schooling opportunity. Where location is strongly determined by race or ethnicity, serious segregation exists. Where there is school assignment by segregated housing location, the link is exceedingly clear.