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Title: “Moving on Up?” Race, Class, and the Persistence of Residential Segregation from 1970 to 2010
Authors: Intrator, Jake
Advisors: Massey, Douglas
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: This thesis explores the persistence of residential segregation in the United States. I trace trends in residential segregation by socioeconomic status (SES) for Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians from 1970 to 2010. I utilize a broad data set from the US Census to measure residential segregation along the dimensions of evenness and isolation by calculating dissimilarity and interaction indexes for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and non- Hispanic Whites by SES according to income quintile membership. Many scholars explain residential segregation through spatial assimilation and place stratification models. Spatial assimilation results in greater integration with increased SES, while place stratification emphasizes the role of race in spatial location. In general, spatial assimilation explains Hispanic and Asian residential patterns, while place stratification is more relevant for Blacks in the US. Thus Blacks are less able to convert gains to SES into proximity to Whites and other higher-SES neighbors. My analysis notices comprehensive progress towards integration, but confirms that place stratification still increasingly segregates Blacks in the US. Historically, residential segregation was maintained by explicitly racist housing policy and private practices. Current legislation outlaws discrimination, but allows for more subtle policy tools that implicitly preserve segregation. This thesis focuses on density-zoning laws, which have been shown by other scholars to increase residential segregation by race and class. I utilize multivariate regressions to predict the difference in segregation between 1st and 5th quintile persons as the gain in integration from moving from the bottom to the top of the income distribution. This value quantifies spatial assimilation. I find that in some cases, Hispanics and Asians may achieve increased spatial assimilation in more permissive density-zoning regimes, while Blacks do not. Spatial mobility is deeply related to social mobility, yet minorities in the US are consistently obstructed from integration. I offer a set of policy solutions to muster support for a comprehensive affordable housing regime, to implement targeted interventions for those who are segregated and those who maintain segregation, and to promote a change in the social comprehension of residential segregation in the US.
Extent: 126 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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