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* Philadelphia proper, like many big cities in the United States, will soon no longer be majority white.

As more and more Hispanics and Asians have moved into the City of Brotherly Love, whites have fled the city in droves for the suburbs. The city's white population decreased by 14 percent from 1980 to 1990, and within the next 10 to 20 years, whites are expected to be a minority.

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In 1990, roughly 53 percent of the city's 1.5 million population were white, 39 percent black, 5 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Asian.

Philadelphia remains the eighth most segregated metropolitan area in the US, according to Douglas Massey, a University of Chicago sociology professor. Only Gary, Ind.; Detroit; Chicago; Cleveland; Milwaukee; Newark, N. J.; and New York City are worse.

More and more blacks and Hispanics live in monoracial neighborhoods, Dr. Massey says. But Asians, whose population in the area increased by 130 percent since 1980, tend to integrate much more easily.

One key to integrating the area is to improve the ability of minorities to buy homes, says Kevin Vaughan, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the city's antidiscrimination agency.

Last year the commission found that 11 area mortgage lenders were refusing mortgages for house purchases of under $50,000, a price range suitable for many low-income minorities. All but two of the area lenders have agreed to end the practice.

Realtors in the suburbs were also found by other government agencies to be steering blacks away from predominantly white communities.

The number of minorities living in the suburbs grew steadily from 1980 to 1990, but relatively few moved into integrated areas. Roughly 87 percent of suburban residents are white, 8 percent black, 2 percent Hispanic, and 2 percent Asian.

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From 1980 to 1990 in the suburbs, the Asian population skyrocketed by 121 percent. Hispanics grew 61 percent; blacks, 21 percent.

Predominantly black and Hispanic areas like Camden, N.J., the poorest city in the state, are included in the suburban totals.

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