Spatial Demography

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 141–157 | Cite as

Connecting the Dots: The Spatial Processes Underlying Place-Level Diversity Change in U.S. Metros Between 1990 and 2010

  • Michael J. R. MartinEmail author
  • Christopher S. Fowler


Entropy is a crucial measure used to describe expanding ethnoracial diversity in the United States in recent decades. However, this measure changes in complex ways contingent on the starting levels of diversity in a place and on the ethnoracial composition of that place. Careful examination of the behavior of Entropy indicates an uneven relationship between compositional shifts in population and shifts in Entropy. We note differences based on the majority population and a tendency for high diversity locations to become less diverse over time. Moreover, adjacent places tend to move together towards greater or lesser diversity with both metropolitan and sub-metropolitan processes leading to correlations in diversity change across decades. Using place level data from the 1990 and 2010 decennial Censuses we quantify these patterns of change and association with the goal of increasing knowledge of baseline conditions so that Entropy can be used with greater nuance in the future.


Diversity Race Urban 



Funding was provided by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant Nos. R01HD074605 and R24HD041025).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. Adelman, R. M. (2005). The roles of race, class, and residential preferences in the neighborhood racial composition of middle-class blacks and whites. Social Science Quarterly, 86(1), 209–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alba, R., & Nee, V. (2009). Remaking the American mainstream: Assimilation and contemporary immigration. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bischoff, K. (2008). School district fragmentation and racial residential segregation: How do boundaries matter? Urban Affairs Review, 44(2), 182–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Card, D., Mas, A., & Rothstein, J. (2008). Tipping and the dynamics of segregation. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123(1), 177–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark, William A. V., Anderson, E., Osth, J., & Malmberg, B. (2015). A multiscalar analysis of neighborhood composition in Los Angeles, 2000–2010: A location-based approach to segregation and diversity. The Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(6), 1260–1284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crowder, K., Hall, M., & Tolnay, S. E. (2011). Neighborhood immigration and native out-migration. American Sociological Review, 76(1), 25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crowder, K., & South, S. J. (2008). Spatial dynamics of white flight: The effects of local and extralocal racial conditions on neighborhood out-migration. American Sociological Review, 73(5), 792–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Emerson, M. O., Yancey, G., & Chai, K. J. (2001). Does race matter in residential segregation? Exploring the preferences of White Americans. American Sociological Review, 66(6), 922–935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farrell, C. R. (2014). Immigrant suburbanization and the shifting geographic structure of metropolitan segregation in the United States. Urban Studies, 53(1), 1–20.Google Scholar
  10. Fasenfest, D., Booza, J., & Metzger, J. (2006). Living together: A new look at racial and ethnic integration in metropolitan neighborhoods, 1990–2000. In A. Berube, B. Katz, & R. E. Lang (Eds.), Redefining urban and suburban America: Evidence from census 2000 (Vol. III, pp. 93–117). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  11. Fowler, C. S. (2016). Segregation as a multiscalar phenomenon and its implications for neighborhood-scale research: The case of South Seattle 1990–2010. Urban Geography, 37(1), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fowler, C. S., Lee, B., & Matthews, S. (2016). The contributions of places to metropolitan ethnoracial diversity and segregation: Decomposing change across space and time. Demography, 53(6), 1955–1977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Galster, G. C. (2011). The mechanism(s) of neighbourhood effects: Theory, evidence, and policy implications. In M. van Ham, D. Manley, N. Bailey, L. Simpson, & D. Maclennan (Eds.), Neighbourhood effects research: New perspectives (pp. 23–56). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Goering, J. M. (1978). Neighborhood tipping and racial transition: A review of social science evidence. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 44(1), 68–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hall, M. (2013). Residential integration on the new frontier: Immigrant segregation in established and new destinations. Demography, 50(5), 1873–1896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hipp, J. R., & Roussell, A. (2013). Micro- and macro-environment population and the consequences for crime rates. Social Forces, 92(2), 563–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Holloway, S. R., Wright, R., & Ellis, M. (2012). The racially fragmented city? Neighborhood racial segregation and diversity jointly considered. The Professional Geographer, 64(1), 63–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnston, S. J., Katimin, M., & Milczarski, W. J. (1997). Homeownership aspirations and experiences: Immigrant Koreans and Dominicans in Northern Queens, New York City. Cityscape, 3, 63–90.Google Scholar
  19. Jones, K., Johnston, R., Manley, D., Owen, D., & Charlton, C. (2015). Ethnic residential segregation: A multilevel, multigroup, multiscale approach exemplified by London in 2011. Demography, 52, 1995–2019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krysan, M. (2008). Does race matter in the search for housing? An exploratory study of search strategies, experiences, and locations. Social Science Research, 37(2), 581–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lee, B. A., & Hughes, L. A. (2015). Bucking the trend: Is Ethnoracial diversity declining in American communities? Population Research and Policy Review, 34, 113–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lee, B. A., Iceland, J., & Farrell, C. R. (2014). Is ethnoracial residential integration on the rise? Evidence from Metropolitan and Micropolitan America since 1980. In J. R. Logan (Ed.), Diversity and disparities: America enters a new century (pp. 415–456). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  23. Lee, B. A., et al. (2008). Beyond the census tract: Patterns and determinants of racial segregation at multiple geographic scales. American Sociological Review, 73(5), 766–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lee, J., & Bean, F. D. (2007). Reinventing the color line: Immigration and America’s new racial/ethnic divide. Social Forces, 86(2), 561–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lichter, D. T., Parisi, D., Grice, S. M., & Taquino, M. C. (2007). National estimates of racial segregation in rural and small-town America. Demography, 44(3), 563–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lichter, D. T., Parisi, D., & Taquino, M. C. (2015). Toward a new macro-segregation? Decomposing segregation within and between metropolitan cities and suburbs. American Sociological Review, 80(4), 843–873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Logan, J. R., Stults, B. J., & Farley, R. (2004). Segregation of minorities in the metropolis: Two decades of change. Demography, 41(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Logan, J. R., & Zhang, C. (2010). Global neighborhoods: New pathways to diversity and separation. American Journal of Sociology, 115(4), 1069–1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Menjivar, C. (1997). Immigrant Kinship networks: Vietnamese, Salvadoreans and Mexicans in comparative perspective. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 28(1), 1–24.Google Scholar
  30. Moran, Patrick A. P. (1950). Notes on continuous stochastic phenomena. Biometrika, 37(1/2), 17–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Parisi, D., Lichter, D. T., & Taquino, M. C. (2011). Multi-scale residential segregation: Black exceptionalism and America’s changing color line. Social Forces, 89, 829–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. (2006). Immigrant America: A portrait (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  33. Voss, P. R., Long, D. D., Hammer, R. B., & Friedman, S. (2006). County child poverty rates in the US: A spatial regression approach. Population Research and Policy Review, 25, 369–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Population Research InstituteThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations