Inter-District and Intra-District Segregation on Long Island

Media Contact:
Sara Rietbroek, InfiniTech

New Study Finds School Segregation on Long Island is Double the National Average; Nassau is Almost Triple

Garden City, NY (May 3, 2012): Today the Long Island Index released a new study, Inter-District and Intra-District Segregation on Long Island. The study was conducted by Professor Douglas Ready from Teachers College at Columbia University. The report focuses on school segregation on Long Island, measuring the degree of segregation found within and between Long Island school districts.

The report’s key findings include the following:

  • By one measure, school segregation on Long Island is double the national average; Nassau’s is almost triple.
  • Black-white segregation is worse than Hispanic-white segregation, but Hispanicwhite school segregation has been steadily increasing since the late 1980s, as the Hispanic population has grown to become the largest non-white racial/ethnic group in Long Island’s schools.
  • Although there are some exceptions, schools in the same district aren’t that segregated; instead, entire school districts are segregated from one another.

Since school district boundaries mimic housing patterns, Long Island’s schools are highly segregated. According to recent analyses of data from the 2010 census, Long Island ranked 10th in the nation in residential segregation between blacks and whites, putting Long Island ahead of the cities of Los Angeles, Baltimore and Washington D.C. Furthermore, Long Island ranked 19th in segregation between Hispanics and whites, and this has been growing rapidly since 1993.

“This segregation costs our region dearly on a human and economic level,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation and publisher of the Long Island Index. “Segregated, high-needs schools are the epicenters of the education gap, places where children’s needs overwhelm scarce resources. A good first step would be to create regional high schools of excellence that would draw high-achieving students from across district lines, created in ways that would not replicate the segregation that already exists.”

When Mario Cuomo was Governor of New York, Patrick Halpin, then a state legislator, supported Cuomo’s proposal for regional high schools of excellence. “It was a good idea then and it is a good idea now,” said Mr. Halpin, who is now Vice President of External Affairs for the Institute for Student Achievement. ”Governor Cuomo recognized a need for these schools, an important step in building our region’s economy. Maybe now the time has finally come to offer students an opportunity to attend schools where they can nurture and cultivate the talent employers seek to grow our economy.”

The study’s author, Douglas Ready, pointed to Long Island’s severe municipal fragmentation as one cause of the high levels of segregation between school districts. “Previous studies have found that school segregation is intensified in diverse metropolitan areas that offer many, small school districts. This is certainly what we find on Long Island, which may have the most fragmented school districts in the nation.”

To read the full report, please visit

About the Rauch Foundation:
The Long Island Index is funded by the Rauch Foundation, a family foundation headquartered in Garden City, New York. In addition to funding the Long Island Index for nine years the Rauch Foundation commissioned The Long Island Profile Report and a series of polls on Long Island to determine how the region is faring. The Long Island Index 2004, Long Island Index 2005, Long Island Index 2006, Long Island Index 2007, Long Island Index 2008, Long Island Index 2009, Long Island Index 2010, Long Island Index 2011 and the Long Island Index 2012 are all available for download at The Long Island Index interactive maps, an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information as well as the new Build a Better Burb website, are, also accessible from the Index’s website.