What is the difference between de jure and de facto segregation?

  • De jure means "by law" and de facto means "as a matter of fact." So De jure segregation is segregation required by law (such as a school being segregated because there is a law requiring it), whereas de facto segregation is more just by chance (such as settlement patterns in a city leading to segregated schools).
  • De facto segregation is segregation by fact or circumstance. Very often this is not a conscious choice. A good example is found in neighborhoods, frequently there is a white neighborhood or a black neighborhood, this concentration can lead to schools that are predominately one race. (Xe facto is latin for by fact.)
  • "De facto" means the person who is serving in that position, or as "in fact"; whereas "de jure" means the person who is legally entitled to perform that function, or "by law," and has the right to perform a function or hold an office. It is important to note that hundreds of years ago, women did not have certain rights, and their husbands would perform the functions for them, although there are other latin terms for that.