The Disappearance of Skid Row: Some Ecological Evidence

Barrett A. Lee

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17 Scopus citations


Census tract data are employed to examine demographic changes between 1950 and 1970 for skid row neighborhoods in 41 American cities. While the directions of trends in skid row population composition parallel those of the central city, such changes have not been of sufficient magnitude to alter skid row-central city differences which were present in 1950: skid rows remain disproportionately comprised of single, older, low-status males. However, major losses in population threaten the existence of many traditional skid row districts. The declining number of skid row residents appears to be empirically related to demographic characteristics of both the skid row neighborhood and the central city. These results are discussed in terms of ecological theories of urban growth, with attention given to the evolving functional role played by skid row in the larger urban context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-107
Number of pages27
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1980

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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