Residential Segregation

  • Robert Mare
  • Daniel Lichter

Leader: Daniel Lichter, Robert Mare

The Residential Segregation RG is dedicated to updating the country’s system for measuring residential segregation. This research group has three main research commitments: (a) monitoring segregation at the extremes; (b) charting the spatial distribution of the elderly poor; and (c) developing a new GPS-based infrastructure for measuring segregation. 

Segregation at the extremes: The first line of research addresses the need to better monitor segregation at the extremes, including (a) the possible rise of enclave-style segregation at the very top (the “one percent”) and (b) the yet more troubling possibility of a resurgence of extreme segregation among the very poor. In a related recession brief, Robert Sampson has shown that poor neighborhoods have become yet poorer in the downturn, raising the possibility that hyper-segregation is indeed emerging. 

Segregation of the elderly poor: In the second line of research, research group members are charting the spatial distribution of the elderly poor, given emerging concerns about their ghettoization. This line of research, which is being carried out in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity, begins with a simple descriptive mapping of elderly poor that reveals the extent to which they are indeed isolated and segregated. 

Real-time measures of segregation: The third main initiative is to develop a new infrastructure for monitoring segregation. The conventional approach of carrying out separate and static measurements of residential, school, work, friendship, and marriage segregation can be replaced with a direct behavioral framework that tracks the continuous-time patterning of inter-person contact. By exploiting GPS measurements (increasingly available, even for the poor, via mobile phones), it becomes possible to track poor, middle-class, and rich people as they move through their day and attend school, go to work, carry out their shopping, and visit friends and family. This methodology will produce a real-time measure of how much segregation there is and, in particular, the extent to which the poor are growing increasingly isolated in school, home, work, and leisure. 

Segregation - CPI Research

Title Author Media
Emerging Patterns of Hispanic Residential Segregation: Lessons from Rural and Small-Town America Daniel T. Lichter, Domenico Parisi, Michael C. Taquino

Emerging Patterns of Hispanic Residential Segregation: Lessons from Rural and Small-Town America

Author: Daniel T. Lichter, Domenico Parisi, Michael C. Taquino
Publisher: Rural Sociology
Date: 05/2016

The past two decades have ushered in a period of widespread spatial diffusion of Hispanics well beyond traditional metropolitan gateways. This article examines emerging patterns of racial and ethnic residential segregation in new Hispanic destinations over the 1990–2010 period, linking county, place, and block data from the 1990, 2000, and 2010 decennial censuses. Our multiscalar analyses of segregation are framed by classical models of immigrant assimilation and alternative models of place stratification. We ask whether Hispanics are integrating spatially with the native population and whether recent demographic and economic processes have eroded or perpetuated racial boundaries in nonmetropolitan areas. We show that Hispanic residential segregation from whites is often exceptionally high and declining slowly in rural counties and communities. New Hispanic destinations, on average, have higher Hispanic segregation levels than established gateway communities. The results also highlight microscale segregation patterns within rural places and in the open countryside (i.e., outside places), a result that is consistent with emerging patterns of “white flight.” Observed estimates of Hispanic-white segregation across fast-growing nonmetropolitan counties often hide substantial heterogeneity in residential segregation. Divergent patterns of rural segregation reflect local-area differences in population dynamics, economic inequality, and the county employment base (using Economic Research Service functional specialization codes). Illustrative maps of Hispanic boom counties highlight spatially uneven patterns of racial diversity. They also provide an empirical basis for our multivariate analyses, which show that divergent patterns of local-area segregation often reflect spatial variation in employment across different industrial sectors.

Residential Segregation is the Linchpin of Racial Stratification Douglas S. Massey

Residential Segregation is the Linchpin of Racial Stratification

Author: Douglas S. Massey
Publisher: City and Community
Date: 03/2016

"White racial attitudes toward black Americans shifted during the Civil Rights Era ... with important consequences for patterns of racial segregation. During the 1980s, principled support for segregation all but disappeared; but despite this retreat from segregationist ideology, whites nonetheless continued to harbor strong anti-black sentiments rooted in negative stereotypes about the low intelligence, lack of motivation, propensity toward criminality, and predatory sexuality of African Americans (Bobo et al. 2012). Even though whites had come to reject segregation in principle, they continued to feel uncomfortable in the presence of many African Americans in practice; and they grew progressively more uncomfortable as black numbers in the social setting rose (Charles 2003)."

The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation, 2007-2012 Sean Reardon, Kendra Bischoff

The Continuing Increase in Income Segregation, 2007-2012

Author: Sean Reardon, Kendra Bischoff
Publisher:
Date: 03/2016

In this report, we use the most recent data from the American Community Survey to investigate whether income segregation increased from 2007 to 2012. These data indicate that income segregation rose modestly from 2007 to 2012. This continues the trend of rising income segregation that began in the 1980s. We show that the growth in income segregation varies among metropolitan areas, and that segregation increased rapidly in places that experienced large increases in income inequality. This suggests that rising income inequality continues to be a key factor leading to increasing residential segregation by income.

Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Frina Lin, Jeremy Majerovitz, Benjamin Scuderi

Childhood Environment and Gender Gaps in Adulthood

Author: Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Frina Lin, Jeremy Majerovitz, Benjamin Scuderi
Publisher: NBER
Date: 02/2016

We show that differences in childhood environments play an important role in shaping gender gaps in adulthood by documenting three facts using population tax records for children born in the 1980s. First, gender gaps in employment rates, earnings, and college attendance vary substantially across the parental income distribution. Notably, the traditional gender gap in employment rates is reversed for children growing up in poor families: boys in families in the bottom quintile of the income distributionare less likely to work than girls. Second, these gender gaps vary substantially across counties and commuting zones in which children grow up. The degree of variation in outcomes across places is largest for boys growing up in poor, single-parent families. Third, the spatial variation in gender gaps is highly correlated with proxies for neighborhood disadvantage. Low-income boys who grow up in high-poverty, high-minority areas work significantly less than girls. These areas also have higher rates of crime, suggesting that boys growing up in concentrated poverty substitute from formal employment to crime. Together, these findings demonstrate that gender gaps in adulthood have roots in childhood, perhaps because childhood disadvantage is especially harmful for boys.

State of the Union 2016: Residential Segregation Daniel T. Lichter, Domenico Parisi, Helga de Valk

State of the Union 2016: Residential Segregation

Author: Daniel T. Lichter, Domenico Parisi, Helga de Valk
Publisher:
Date: 02/2016

Segregation often overlaps with many other place-based inequalities—poverty, unemployment, crime, and housing quality and overcrowding. These overlapping disadvantages are seemingly much more common in the U.S. than in European countries, where government efforts to promote integration provide a clear contrast to the market-driven solutions preferred in the U.S.

Segregation - CPI Affiliates

Daniel Lichter Segregation Research Group Leader; Professor of Sociology; Director of Cornell Population Center Cornell University
Robert Denis Mare Segregation Research Group Leader; Research Professor and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology University of California, Los Angeles
Ann Owens Assistant Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences University of Southern California
Domenico Parisi Executive Director, National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center; Professor of Sociology Mississippi State University
Joscha Legewie Assistant Professor of Sociology Yale University

Pages

Segregation - Other Research

Title Author Media
Inequality in Children’s Contexts: Income Segregation of Households with and without Children Ann Owens

Inequality in Children’s Contexts: Income Segregation of Households with and without Children

Author: Ann Owens
Publisher: American Sociological Review
Date: 04/2016

Past research shows that income segregation between neighborhoods increased over the past several decades. In this article, I reexamine income segregation from 1990 to 2010 in the 100 largest metropolitan areas, and I find that income segregation increased only among families with children. Among childless households—two-thirds of the population—income segregation changed little and is half as large as among households with children. I examine two factors that may account for these differences by household composition. First, I find that increasing income inequality, identified by past research as a driver of income segregation, was a much more powerful predictor of income segregation among families with children, among whom income inequality has risen more. Second, I find that local school options, delineated by school district boundaries, contribute to higher segregation among households with children compared to households without. Rising income inequality provided high-income households more resources, and parents used these resources to purchase housing in particular neighborhoods, with residential decisions structured, in part, by school district boundaries. Overall, results indicate that children face greater and increasing stratification in neighborhood contexts than do all residents, and this has implications for growing inequalities in their future outcomes.

The Neighborhood Context of Latino Threat Matthew Hall, Maria Krysan

The Neighborhood Context of Latino Threat

Author: Matthew Hall, Maria Krysan
Publisher: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Date: 04/2016

In recent years, the size of the Latino immigrant population has swelled in communities throughout the United States. For decades, social scientists have studied how social context, particularly a minority group’s relative size, affects the sentiments of the dominant group. Using a random sample survey of five communities in suburban Chicago, the authors examine the impact of Latino population concentration on native-born white residents’ subjective perceptions of threat from Latino immigrants at two micro-level geographies: the immediate block and the surrounding blocks. After controlling for Latino population size in surrounding blocks, percentage Latino in the immediate block does not influence perceptions of threat from Latino immigrants. The effect of surrounding blocks’ population size is consistent with group threat theories for white residents: the larger the Latino population, the greater the perceived threat.

Structural versus Ethnic Dimensions of Housing Segregation Richard H. Sander , Yana Kucheva

Structural versus Ethnic Dimensions of Housing Segregation

Author: Richard H. Sander , Yana Kucheva
Publisher: US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies (Working Paper No. CES-WP-16-22)
Date: 03/2016

Racial residential segregation is still very high in many American cities. Some portion of segregation is attributable to socioeconomic differences across racial lines; some portion is caused by purely racial factors, such as preferences about the racial composition of one’s neighborhood or discrimination in the housing market. Social scientists have had great difficulty disaggregating segregation into a portion that can be explained by interracial differences in socioeconomic characteristics (what we call structural factors) versus a portion attributable to racial and ethnic factors. What would such a measure look like? In this paper, we draw on a new source of data to develop an innovative structural segregation measure that shows the amount of segregation that would remain if we could assign households to housing units based only on non-racial socioeconomic characteristics. This inquiry provides vital building blocks for the broader enterprise of understanding and remedying housing segregation.

An Opportunity Agenda for Renters David Sanchez, Tracey Ross, Julia Gordon

An Opportunity Agenda for Renters

Author: David Sanchez, Tracey Ross, Julia Gordon
Publisher: Center for American Progress
Date: 12/2015

This report provides an overview of the latest research that demonstrates how people’s address effects their life outcomes. The report also outlines several policies to promote economic opportunity for America’s low-income renters. 

Residential Hierarchy in Los Angeles: An Examination of Ethnic and Documentation Status Differences David A. Cort, Ken-Hou Lin, Gabriela Stevenson

Residential Hierarchy in Los Angeles: An Examination of Ethnic and Documentation Status Differences

Author: David A. Cort, Ken-Hou Lin, Gabriela Stevenson
Publisher: Social Science Research
Date: 01/2014

Longitudinal event history data from two waves of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey are used to explore racial, ethnic, and documentation status differences in access to desirable neighborhoods. We first find that contrary to recent findings, undocumented Latinos do not replace blacks at the bottom of the locational attainment hierarchy. Whites continue to end up in neighborhoods that are less poor and whiter than minority groups, while all minorities, including undocumented Latinos, end up in neighborhoods that are of similar quality. Second, the effects of socioeconomic status for undocumented Latinos are either similar to or weaker than disadvantaged blacks. These findings suggest that living in less desirable neighborhoods is a fate disproportionately borne by non-white Los Angeles residents and that in some limited ways, the penalty attached to being undocumented Latino might actually be greater than the penalty attached to being black.