Measuring Racial Inequality of Neighborhood Context: Adaptation of Traditional and Nontraditional Segregation Measures

Theresa L. Osypuk, Northeastern University
Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Harvard University

While measures of residential and economic segregation assess the degree to which different groups live in the same neighborhoods, they are limited for understanding the degree of inequality of neighborhood quality (other than racial or socioeconomic composition) experienced by two groups. We present four measures that summarize the extent of racial inequality in neighborhood context, including adapting two traditional measures of residential segregation, and developing two new measures. We apply the measures to Census and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act tract-level data in the largest 100 metropolitan areas, to assess housing, mortgage and socioeconomic environments of neighborhoods. We use correlation analyses and graphs to illustrate findings. We find that racial inequality in neighborhood quality is lower than comparable measures of neighborhood racial composition. However there is vast variability by metro area. Racial neighborhood inequality is highest for indicators tapping poverty, unemployment, and subprime loans, and lowest for residential stability.

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Presented in Session 16: Residential Segregation in a Multiethnic Society