A recent report found segregated neighborhoods and inter-city ghettos to be on the decline, but what about Westlake?
Having grown up in a predominantly white neighborhood, I find this a bit hard to believe myself. A study by the Manhattan Institute reports that “metropolitan areas are now more integrated than any time since 1910.” Jacob Vigdor, the coauthor of the report was recently on NPR’s Talk of The Nation to discuss his findings.
Based on census records from urban areas in the U.S. from 1890 to 2010, Vigdor was able to conclue that the “all white neighborhood is virtually extinct.” The study also found that inter-city ghettos are on the decline. Due to social changes brought about by the civil rights era such as the Fair Housing Act, minorities were able to move out of inter-city ghettos into neighborhoods they once could not.
Sheryll Cashin, author of “The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class are Undermining the American Dream,” found that the country is really still “moderately segregated.” Where by 1950 half of all African Americans lived in ghettos, now “one in five do.” As where progress is being made in inter-city ghettos, such as the changes I have seen firsthand in Silverlake and Echo Park, California. Where areas once viewed as gang war zones are now flourishing cultural hubs with large commercial development.
A few miles south of Silverlake and Echo Park’s trendy shops and cafes sits the polar opposite, LA’s inter-city ghetto of Westlake. According to data collected by The Los Angeles Times, in 2008 Westlake’s population of over 170,000 was 73.4 percent Latino, 16.5 percent Asian and only 4.5 percent white. The area has one of the highest densities in the city, packing 38,214 people per square mile, the community is 2.72 square miles. Westlake’s median household income of $26,757 is among one of the lowest in the city.