Beyond the census tract: Patterns and determinants of racial segregation at multiple geographic scales

Barrett A. Lee, Sean F. Reardon, Glenn Firebaugh, Chad R. Farrell, Stephen A. Matthews, David O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

207 Scopus citations

Abstract

The census tract-based residential segregation literature rests on problematic assumptions about geographic scale and proximity. We pursue a new tract-free approach that combines explicitly spatial concepts and methods to examine racial segregation across egocentric local environments of varying size. Using 2000 Census data for the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, we compute a spatially modified version of the information theory index H to describe patterns of Black-White, Hispanic-White, Asian-White, and multigroup segregation at different scales. We identify the metropolitan structural characteristics that best distinguish micro-segregation from macro-segregation for each group combination, and we decompose their effects into portions due to racial variation occurring over short and long distances. A comparison of our results with those from tract-based analyses confirms the value of the new approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-791
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican sociological review
Volume73
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond the census tract: Patterns and determinants of racial segregation at multiple geographic scales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this