White Residential Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Conceptual Issues, Patterns, and Trends from the U.S. Census, 1980 to 2010

John Iceland, Gregory Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Racial and ethnic diversity continues to spread to communities across the United States. Rather than focus on the residential patterns of specific minority or immigrant groups, this study examines changing patterns of White residential segregation in metropolitan America. Using data from the 1980 to 2010 decennial censuses, we calculate levels of White segregation using two common measures, analyze the effect of defining the White population in different ways, and, drawing upon the group threat theoretical perspective, we examine the metropolitan correlates of White segregation. We find that White segregation from others declined significantly from 1980 to 2010, regardless of the measure of segregation or the White population used. However, we find some evidence consistent with the group threat perspective, as White dissimilarity is higher in metro areas that are more diverse, and especially those with larger Black populations. Nevertheless, our findings indicate that Whites having been living in increasingly integrated neighborhoods over the last few decades, suggesting some easing of the historical color line.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-686
Number of pages24
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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