Separate When Equal? Racial Inequality and Residential Segregation
This paper hypothesizes that segregation in US cities increases as racial inequality narrows due to the emergence of middle-class black neighborhoods. Employing a novel research design based on life-cycle variations in the relationship between segregation and inequality, we test this hypothesis using the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. Indeed, increased black educational attainment in a city leads to a significant rise in the number of middle-class black communities and segregation for older adults both in the cross-section and over time, consistent with our hypothesis. These findings imply a negative feedback loop that inhibits reductions in racial inequality and segregation over time.
This paper was revised on June 27, 2011
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