Black students living in Hennepin County are 12 times more likely to attend a high-poverty school compared with white students, according to a new study.
The Urban Institute, a national think tank, expanded on a study released earlier this year that showed the majority of public school students were living in poverty. The Urban Institute found poverty in schools varied widely across the country and was largely dependent on race.
Researcher Reed Jordan writes that racial inequity is a "defining feature of almost all school systems in Midwest" regions.
"In some metropolitan areas, the racial concentration of school poverty is so severe that black and white students effectively attend two different school systems: one for middle and upper-middle income white students, and the other for poor students and students of color," Jordan writes.
The institute mapped data showing the share of low-income families attending public schools.
In Minnesota, northern districts had larger concentrations of poor students attending public schools, compared with the metro and southern districts. In Cass County, 64 percent of low-income families attend public schools, compared with 41 percent in Hennepin County.
The institute also examined the percentage of black students attending high-poverty schools.
"Almost all major Midwest metropolitan counties have large disparities in black vs. white students attending high-poverty schools," Jordan said via e-mail. "That is because these regions are highly segregated by both race and income, mostly as a consequence of discriminatory housing policy in the 20th century."
The institute recommends both school and housing policy changes to help reduce the concentration of low-income students attending certain schools. Their recommendations include adding affordable housing to wealthier communities, which tend to have access to better schools.