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Generally, “White flight” refers to the withdrawal of Whites from desegregating institutions, such as schools, school systems, or residential communities, due to the consideration and implementation of school desegregation plans. The concept of White flight is controversial because the loss of White students in school systems is fairly easy to document, whereas the reasons for their departures are not generally easy to identify or isolate. This entry reviews the phenomenon and scholarly discussion about its causes.

Early Research

During the 1960s and 1970s, city school systems in particular lost a large percentage of White students. According to researchers, the primary reason for White flight was dissatisfaction with the prospect of busing (Armor 1995; Coleman, Kelly, & Moore, 1975). The opposition of urban White families to school desegregation ...

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