• Research Area: Racial/Ethnic Segregation ×
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  • Polarisation, Public Housing and Racial Minorities

    Cities in the US have become home to an increasing concentration of poor households, disproportionately composed of racial and ethnic minorities. In the US, poor and minority populations are overrepresented in public housing, mostly located in central cities. Racial and ethnic minorities in American public housing are, for the most part, composed of native-born households whereas in Europe they are more likely to be foreign-born. After a description of this concentration of poor and minority populations in public housing, we examine the effect of public housing on neighbourhood poverty rates in central cities. We construct a longitudinal database (1950-90) for four large cities-Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia—and examine the relationship between the location of public housing and changes in neighborhood poverty rates. We find that in each city, one or more of the variables relating to the existence of public housing is significantly related to increases in neighbourhood poverty rates in succeeding decades.

  • Race and Neighborhoods in the 21st Century

    This research brief explores the state of racial segregation in American neighborhoods, and the connection between segregation and gaps in neighborhood conditions. Based on a working paper that analyzed U.S. segregation patterns between the years 1980 and 2010, the research finds that minority groups and whites continue to live in separate and highly unequal neighborhoods. Black and Hispanic households tend to live in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates, fewer college-educated neighbors, lower-performing schools, and higher violent crime rates. Moreover, these differences in neighborhood conditions are amplified in more segregated metropolitan areas. View the working paper, press release, and other resources here.  

  • Race and Neighborhoods in the 21st Century: What Does Segregation Mean Today?

    Recent research has argued that racial segregation is no longer a concern in the 21st century. In response, this paper revisits these concerns about racial segregation and neighborhoods to assess their relevance today. This working paper finds that while segregation levels between blacks and whites have certainly declined, they remain quite high; Hispanic and Asian segregation have, meanwhile, remained unchanged. Further, this paper shows that the neighborhood environments of minorities continue to be highly unequal to those enjoyed by whites. Blacks and Hispanics continue to live among more disadvantaged neighbors, to have access to lower performing schools, and to be exposed to more violent crime. Further, these differences are amplified in more segregated metropolitan areas. See the Research Brief: Race and Neighborhoods in the 21st Century.

  • Race and the City

    This paper provides the introduction to the special issue on Race and the City in the Journal of Housing Economics in 2018. The paper surveys relevant topics on racial and ethnic discrimination and residential segregation, and provides a more detailed discussion of the specific papers in the special issue. The paper primarily focuses on the literatures on discrimination in housing, on-line markets and policing. In terms of racial segregation, the paper discusses work related to the pattern of residential segregation and the causes and consequences of segregation

  • Race-Based Neighborhood Projection: A Proposed Framework for Understanding New Data

    This paper outlines the race-based, neighbourhood projection hypothesis which holds that, in choosing neighbourhoods, households care less about present racial composition than they do about expectations about future neighbourhood conditions, such as school quality, property values and crime. Race remains relevant, however, since households tend to associate a growing minority presence with structural decline. Using a unique data-set that links households to their neighbourhoods, this paper estimates both exit and entry models and then constructs a simple simulation model that predicts the course of racial change in different communities. Doing so, the paper concludes that the empirical evidence is more consistent with the race-based projection hypothesis than with other common explanations for neighbourhood racial transition.

  • Racial Segregation in Multiethnic Schools: Adding Immigrants to the Analysis

    The authors explore how increases in immigration are likely to affect school segregation by comparing the schools that foreign-born and native-born minorities in New York City attend. They find that foreign-born blacks, Hispanics, and Asians tend to be more racially isolated than their native-born counterparts, even after controlling for differences in language skills and income. The heightened isolation is partially linked to the clustering of immigrant students from particular regions or countries within the same schools. How an increase in foreign-born students in a school district will shape racial segregation therefore will depend on the racial composition of the immigrant students as well as their country of origin.

  • Reversal of Fortunes? Low Income Neighborhoods in the US in the 1990s

    This paper offers new empirical evidence about the prospects of lower-income, US urban neighbourhoods during the 1990s. Using the Neighborhood Change Database, which offers a balanced panel of census tracts with consistent boundaries from 1970 to 2000 for all metropolitan areas in the US, evidence is found of a significant shift in the fortunes of lower-income, urban neighbourhoods during the 1990s. There was a notable increase in the 1990s in the proportion of lower-income and poor neighbourhoods experiencing a gain in economic status. Secondly, in terms of geographical patterns, it is found that this upgrading occurred throughout the country, not just in selected regions or cities. Finally, it is found that the determinants of changes in lower-income, urban neighbourhoods shifted during the 1990s. In contrast to earlier decades, both the share of Blacks and the poverty rate were positively related to subsequent economic gain in these neighbourhoods during the 1990s.

  • School Finance Court Cases and Disparate Racial Impact

    Although analyses of state school finance systems rarely focus on the distribution of funds to students of different races, the advent of racial discrimination as an issue in school finance court cases may change that situation. In this article, we describe the background, analyses, and results of plaintiffs’ testimony regarding racial discrimination in Campaign for Fiscal Equity Inc. v. State of New York. Plaintiffs employed multiple regression and public finance literature to show that New York State’s school finance system had a disparate racial impact on New York City students. We review the legal basis for disparate racial impact claims, with particular emphasis on the role of quantitative statistical work, and then describe the model we developed and estimated for the court case. Finally, we discuss the defendants’rebuttal, the Court’s decision, and conclude with observations about the role of analysis in judicial decision making in school finance.

  • Sharing America’s Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable, Racial Integration

    Instead of panic and “white flight” causing the rapid breakdown of racially integrated neighborhoods, the author argues, contemporary racial change is driven primarily by the decision of white households not to move into integrated neighborhoods when they are moving for reasons unrelated to race.

  • Spatial Inequality and the Distribution of Industrial Toxic Releases: Evidence From the 1990 TRI

    This research investigates environmental justice activists’ claims that pollution is unevenly distributed across communities in the United States. We examine three possible explanations for environmental inequity: racial discrimination, economic stratification, and urban ecology.