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Local Population Change and Variations in Racial Integration in the United States, 2000–2010

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel FranklinORCiD


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While population growth has been consistently tied to decreasing racial segregation at the metropolitan level in the United States, little work has been done to relate small-scale changes in population size to integration. We address this question through a novel technique that tracks population changes by race and ethnicity for comparable geographies in both 2000 and 2010. Using the Theil index, we analyze the fifty most populous metropolitan statistical areas in 2010 for changes in multigroup segregation. We classify local areas by their net population change between 2000 and 2010 using a unique unit of analysis based on aggregating census blocks. We find strong evidence that growing parts of rapidly growing metropolitan areas of the United States are crucial to understanding regional differences in segregation that have emerged in past decades. Multigroup segregation declined the most in growing parts of growing metropolitan areas. Comparatively, growing parts of shrinking or stagnant metropolitan areas were less diverse and had smaller declines in segregation. We also find that local areas with shrinking populations had disproportionately high minority representation in 2000 before population loss took place. We conclude that the regional context of population growth or decline has important consequences for the residential mixing of racial groups.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bellman B, Spielman SE, Franklin RS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Regional Science Review

Year: 2018

Volume: 41

Issue: 2

Pages: 233-255

Print publication date: 01/03/2018

Online publication date: 09/09/2016

Acceptance date: 29/08/2016

ISSN (print): 0160-0176

ISSN (electronic): 1552-6925

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0160017616665669


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