The Intergenerational Reproduction of Multiethnic Residential Integration

Abstract

The long run viability of stable multiethnic residential integration is perennially in question. This study compares the intergenerational reproduction of racially segregated residential contexts to the reproduction of multiethnic contexts to provide new insight into the social processes that influence residential integration. The data for this study come from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the U.S. Census. Conditional logit models analyze patterns of residential reproduction and mobility for white and black families across a comprehensive typology of racially segregated and integrated neighborhoods. The results provide some support for the premise of a “diversity effect,” that children raised in integrated settings are more likely to attain diverse neighborhood environments in adulthood. The results also demonstrate a far stronger propensity to reproduce predominantly white and predominantly black neighborhood contexts than multiethnic contexts. The comparative ease through which racially segregated contexts are reproduced presents a challenge to the future growth and stability of multiethnic residential integration. The implications for theories of spatial incorporation that frame debates about race and ethnic relations are discussed.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    The 22 percent figure is determined by Wright’s et al. (2018) using the same operationalization for multiethnic neighborhoods employed in this study, which is the same used in Crowder et al. (2012), Ellen (2000), Fasenfest et al. (2004), Friedman (2008), and Lee (2017), among others. Triangulating with several other operationalizations for neighborhood diversity, Wright et al. (2018, p. 5) conclude that “instability rather than stability characterizes these types of places regardless of how they are defined.” A discussion of the operationalization is provided in the methods and conclusion sections.

  2. 2.

    Construction of the sampling weights follows Sharkey (2008, p. 943, footnote #6).

  3. 3.

    In supplemental analysis, I compared the representation of neighborhood types using the NCDB against an alternative data source, the Longitudinal Tract Database (LTDB). I did not observe any noteworthy discrepancies.

  4. 4.

    Census data prior to 1980 does not straightforwardly publish counts on the non-Hispanic white population below the state level. In 1970, white population counts at the census tract level include those that also identify as Hispanic. To remedy this non-exclusivity problem, I subtract out the Hispanic counts from the white counts for 1970. This is a reasonable assumption given that in 1970 approximately 94% of the Hispanic population identified as white (see Gibson and Jung 2005). To address the issue of no Hispanic data for the 1970 LTDB, I downloaded the summary file data on 1970 Hispanics from the NHGIS website and then used the crosswalk/weighting program provided by LTDB to get 1970 estimates in 2010 boundaries.

  5. 5.

    No typology is without critics. Wright et al. (2018) argue that diverse neighborhoods should not have greater than a 45 percent share of any one ethnoracial group. Using this criteria, they report fewer than half the number ethnoraically diverse census tracts than the number of diverse tracts based on the typology used in this study. Thus, for sample-based study, the 45 percent criteria is deemed too restrictive as it would limit coverage and constrain inferences about multiethnic residential reproduction to a unique selection of white families. I will return to the discussion of neighborhood typology in the conclusion.

  6. 6.

    Average neighborhood income is converted into real 2000 dollars using the Consumer Price Index. Note that median neighborhood income is not available for 1970, but average neighborhood income is available for all censuses. The difference between the mean and median income at the census tract level is inconsequential as the skew is minimal and income is also logged.

  7. 7.

    A direct comparison of logits across equations is ill-advised because of the identifying constraint used in estimation (Allison 1999).

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by an internal faculty grant to the authors from the University of Connecticut.

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Correspondence to Jeremy Pais.

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Pais, J. The Intergenerational Reproduction of Multiethnic Residential Integration. Popul Res Policy Rev (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-020-09589-5

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Keywords

  • Intergenerational mobility
  • Immigration
  • Migration
  • Neighborhood change
  • Diversity
  • Life course
  • Residential integration