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Racial and ethnic residential segregation and household structure: A research note

Social Science Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2009.06.006
  • Racial And Ethnic Residential Segregation
  • Racial And Ethnic Inequality
  • Household Structure


Abstract This study examines how patterns of racial and ethnic segregation in U.S. metropolitan areas vary by household structure. Specifically, using tract-level summary files from the 2000 decennial census, we estimated levels of metropolitan segregation for different racial and ethnic groups by household composition and poverty status. We find that when using the dissimilarity index, white households with children, and especially poor ones, are more segregated from black, Hispanic, and Asian households than are white households as a whole. Results from the interaction index provide complimentary information. In large part because nonpoor white married-couple households are more numerous than other groups in most metropolitan areas, such households tend to have relatively less interaction with other racial and ethnic groups, and black and Hispanic households in particular. In contrast, minority group members often live in neighborhoods with a high proportion of non-Hispanic white households. Among all three minority group families with children, nonpoor married householders had the highest levels of interaction with whites. These results show that household structure shapes racial and ethnic residential patterns in U.S. metropolitan areas.

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