Patterns and Trends in the Spatial Scale and Magnitude of Racial Residential Segregation, 1980-2000

Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University
Barrett A. Lee, Pennsylvania State University
Chad R. Farrell, University of Alaska at Anchorage
Stephen Matthews, Pennsylvania State University
David O'Sullivan, University of Auckland
Glenn Firebaugh, Pennsylvania State University
Kendra Bischoff, Stanford University

In this paper, we use newly developed methods of measuring spatial segregation to investigate how racial residential segregation patterns in U.S. metropolitan areas have changed from 1980 to 2000 (Reardon et al., 2006; Reardon & O'Sullivan, 2004). In particular, we examine the relationships among the spatial scale of segregation and trends in segregation levels. By ‘scale’, we mean the granularity of residential patterns. We find that black-white segregation has declined, on average, only at the local level; macro-scale patterns of black-white segregation within metropolitan areas have changed little. We find that Hispanic-white and Asian-white segregation levels, in contrast, have increased at both micro- and macro-scales, suggesting patterns of localized immigration settlement and enclave formation.

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Presented in Session 8: Racial/Ethnic Segregation