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The Colors of Money

Area’s wealthiest suburbs not rich in racial diversity

“The upper-income suburbs around Chicago are still not very integrated,” says Stephen Higley—and he has the stats to back up that statement. Higley, a Milwaukee native and an associate professor of geography at Alabama’s University of Montevallo, studies racial integration in the country’s wealthiest neighborhoods and suburbs. Of the 70 high-income communities around Chicago that appear on Higley’s list, only six also show up on his sublist of the top neighborhoods nationwide for African Americans, Asians, or Latinos. Of those six, five lie within Oak Brook—four with heavy concentrations of Asians, one with African Americans. The sixth neigh­bor­hood, within Flossmoor, has a high concentration of African Americans. The list—which can be studied at higley1000.com—comprises largely suburban areas, because the urban areas delineated by the U.S. Census Bureau generally have a greater mix of incomes than the suburbs.

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