Has Falling Crime Invited Gentrification?

Since the early 1990s, central city crime has fallen dramatically in the United States. This study explores the extent to which this trend may have contributed to gentrification. Using confidential census microdata, the authors show that reductions in central city violent crime are associated with increases in the probability that high-income and college-educated households move into central city neighborhoods, including low-income neighborhoods, instead of the suburbs. The authors then use neighborhood-level crime and home purchase data for five major U.S. cities and find that falling neighborhood crime is associated with increasing numbers and shares of high-income movers to low-income central city neighborhoods.