Assuming the US doesn’t embark on any new grandiose social engineering experiments in the next few decades, the burbs are going to become much more diverse, both racially and economically.
- Most people with young kids aren’t white and aren’t well off.
- A huge quantity of US housing stock, particularly single family homes, is in the burbs.
- As demand from well-off Millennials has concentrated on cities, housing markets in the burbs have cooled off.
- Tens of millions of aging Baby Boomers are going to need to sell their suburban homes over the next few decades.
- The US has a huge government-backed housing-industrial complex that is going to still be looking for marginally credit-worthy people to lend money to.
Presto change-o, you don’t need busing or Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing to integrate the schools- the schools will get more integrated just about everywhere except for a few pockets of out-of-this-world privilege here and there. Places like Ferguson, Missouri (which believe it or not as recently as 2008 was the kind of place people recommend you move to for the schools) show how this process could go badly. But maybe it won’t: in particular, it will be very strongly in the interest of the lower-middle class black and Hispanic families who start buying into previously affluent suburbs that the courts don’t push large low-income housing developments on these same suburbs and that banks don’t drop credit standards for the next group of borrowers to come through. I don’t think unregulated markets are going to solve every problem, but quite a bit of the segregation of US urban areas could wind itself down on its own without much of a push.