Residential Segregation in the Twenty-First Century and the Role of Housing Policy

Forthcoming in Blurred Boundaries, Real Consequences: The Intersection of Public Policy and Race, edited by Josh Grimm and Jaime Loke. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press.
with Jackelyn Hwang and Jacob Rugh
Recent research examining trends in residential segregation since 1970 document substantial declines in black-white residential segregation and the isolation of blacks from other race groups. Does this imply what Edward Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor call “the end of the segregated century”? In this study, we examine segregation using new measures and methods that adapt to the contemporary racial and socioeconomic context of the U.S. and demonstrate that segregation strongly persists. First, we find that segregation levels are higher when we consider multiple race groups together, rather than only two groups. Second, we show that segregation is increasingly taking place in the suburbs as they become more racially and socioeconomically diverse. Third, consistent with other recent studies on racial segregation, we find declines in the segregation of race groups, but when we consider the intersection of race and class, our findings demonstrate that poor minorities and affluent whites are highly isolated and became increasingly segregated from nonpoor and nonaffluent residents, respectively, from 2000 to 2010 in both central cities and the suburbs. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for housing policy.

Tragic, but Not Random: The Social Contagion of Nonfatal Gunshot Injuries

Social Science & Medicine, 125 (January 2015): 139–150       [ DOWNLOAD ]
with Andrew V. Papachristos and Christopher Wildeman
This study investigates the concentration of nonfatal gunshot injuries within risky social networks. Using six years of data on gunshot victimization and arrests in Chicago, we reconstruct patterns of co-offending for the city and locate gunshot victims within these networks. Results indicate that 70 percent of all nonfatal gunshot victims during the observation period can be located in co-offending networks comprised of less than 6 percent of the city's population. Results from logistic regression models suggest that as an individual's exposure to gunshot victims increases, so too do that individual's odds of victimization. Furthermore, even small amounts of exposure can dramatically increase the odds of victimization. For instance, every 1 percent increase in exposure to gunshot victims in one's immediate network increases the odds of victimization by roughly 1.1 percent, holding all else constant. These observed associations are more pronounced for young minority males, and effects of exposure extend to indirect network ties at distances of two to three steps removed. These findings imply that the risk of gunshot victimization is more concentrated than previously thought, being concentrated in small and identifiable networks of individuals engaging in risky behavior, in this case criminal activity.

Commuting to Opportunity: The Working Poor and Commuting in the United States

The Brookings Institution, 2008       [ DOWNLOAD ]
The landscape of metropolitan America is changing. Population and jobs are increasingly decentralized, commuting from one suburb to another and “reverse commuting” from cities to suburbs are more common, and commuters are driving alone to work now more than ever. This study examines workers’ commuting costs and travel modes, the trade-offs between transportation and housing costs, and how such characteristics vary across metropolitan areas. It focuses specifically on the working poor, and how their commuting and housing expenses compare to other workers. I find that the working poor spend a much higher portion of their income on commuting than other workers, despite using less expensive commuting modes at a greater frequency. Likewise, the combined costs of commuting and housing make up a larger portion of the household budgets of the working poor than other households. The cost burden of commuting for the working poor is greater than the national median in 8 of the 12 largest U.S metropolitan areas. The commuting burden experienced by the working poor has been shown to be a symptom of larger local and regional trends, including development and land use patterns, residential segregation, and changing local economies. The outcomes of such trends can be seen in metropolitan areas across the U.S. where workers commute longer and farther in search of employment opportunities and affordable housing. Access to affordable commuting options provides a key link to economic mobility for the working poor.