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New York Times

More than 40 years after the federal government enacted fair-housing legislation and the Great Migration of blacks from the South began to ebb, residential segregation in metropolitan America has been significantly curtailed, according to a study released Monday.

The study of census results from thousands of neighborhoods by two economics professors who are fellows at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research organization, found that the nation's cities are more racially integrated than at any time since 1910; that all-white enclaves "are effectively extinct"; and that while black urban ghettos still exist, they are shriveling.

An influx of immigrants and the gentrification of black neighborhoods contributed to the change, the study said, but suburbanization by blacks was even more instrumental.

The findings by the two professors - Edward Glaeser of Harvard and Jacob Vigdor of Duke - were generally seconded by other experts with several caveats and an admonition that the study should not be seen as declaring the end of segregation.

"There is now very much more black-white neighborhood integration than 40 years ago," said professor Reynolds Farley of the University of Michigan's Population Studies Center. "Those of us who worked on segregation in the 1960s never anticipated such declines. Nevertheless, blacks remain considerably more segregated from whites than do Hispanics or Asians."

Douglas Massey, a Princeton sociologist, said: "In terms of trends in black-white segregation, we really see two trends: In metro areas with small black populations, we indeed observed sharp decreases in segregation; but in those with large black populations, the declines are much slower and at times nonexistent. Although all-white neighborhoods have largely disappeared, this is more due to the entry of Latinos and Asians into formerly all-white neighborhoods."