Decreasing Black-White Residential Segregation, 1990-2000: How Much Did Improvements in Black SES and Black Population Redistribution Matter?

Craig St. John, University of Oklahoma
Tessa North, University of Oklahoma

Between 1990-2000 blacks made significant improvements in SES and moved from the largest MSAs of the Northeast and the Midwest. These trends should contribute to reduced black segregation from whites because blacks with higher socioeconomic status are less segregated and the largest MSAs tend to have the highest levels of segregation. We examine the contribution of these trends to reductions in black-white segregation between 1990 and 2000 by applying a decomposition analysis to a standardized interaction index. We find 25% of the increased exposure of blacks to whites can be attributed to improvements in the level of black education and 17% can be attributed to the redistribution of blacks among metropolitan areas. Our results are consistent with the structural assimilation model of ethnic/minority incorporation. As the black population becomes more similar to the white population in terms of socioeconomic status and regional geographic distribution, blacks increasingly share neighborhoods with whites.

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Presented in Poster Session 4