Study: American “multiethnic neighborhoods are populated mainly by Latino and Asian families,” not by Whites and Blacks

A new study in American Sociological Review shows that residential segregation still endures as “multiethnic neighborhoods are populated mainly by Latino and Asian families”:

Researchers who analyzed the mobility trends of more than 100,000 families in metropolitan areas over nearly three decades found that the majority of blacks and whites continue to live in neighborhoods with high concentrations of residents of their own race…

Sixty percent of families leaving black neighborhoods moved to a similar community and nearly 75 percent of whites transitioned from a mostly white neighborhood to another white area.

Only about 19 percent of blacks and 2.4 percent of whites moved to a multiethnic neighborhood.

Both whites and blacks were more likely to move to diverse areas with new housing, while there was more of the churning effect in older neighborhoods.

While recent figures might suggest that residential segregation has decreased in recent years, there are still some stark differences. The three most interesting findings to me:

1. The long-standing black-white differences continue to matter but the positions of Latinos and Asians within American society are more fluid (partially due to more immigration in the last half-century).

2. The summary also suggested the study found that there is more diversity in neighborhoods with newer housing as compared to neighborhoods with older housing stock. A couple of things could be happening here: this could be referring to more suburban neighborhoods and it could also be the result of class differences (newer housing often being more expensive to purchase).

3. I like the emphasis in this study on tracking where people move from and move to. In other words, do people move to similar kinds of neighborhoods over time or do they move up some sort of socioeconomic ladder? It sounds like there isn’t as much movement as people might think.

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