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Socioeconomic Segregation Between Schools in the United States and Latin America, 1970–2012

Anna K. Chmielewski and Corey Savage

November 2015, English

In this paper, Anna K. Chmielewski and Corey Savage examine school data to compare socioeconomic segregation in the United States and Latin America. They link trends in inequality and segregation in an international context by comparing rates of socioeconomic segregation in U.S. schools with those of several Latin American countries. Their findings document the high rates of socioeconomic segregation across Latin America, where educational systems are generally dominated by small schools and school choice.

Overall, the results of this study corroborate earlier findings that school socioeconomic status (SES) segregation is higher in Latin America than in the United States. To this Chmielewski and Savage add that the disparity appears to be growing. By 2012, high-SES students were dramatically more segregated in Latin America, but low-SES students were slightly less segregated. If the segregation of low-SES students in Latin America continues to grow, however, the picture for the most disadvantaged students may be the most discouraging.

This paper was presented at the Lincoln Institute’s annual Land Policy Conference in 2014 and is Chapter 12 of the book Land and the City.


Inequality, Poverty, Segregation