Locational Attainment and Residential Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Scopilliti, Melissa N.
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Immigration of Asians and Hispanics has fueled recent growth in the non-White population in the United States. Using individual-level data from Census 2000, this dissertation examines the relationship between race/ethnicity, nativity, and socioeconomic characteristics with levels of neighborhood economic advantage, a process often termed residential or locational attainment. It also examines the effectiveness of spatial assimilation, place stratification, and segmented assimilation theories for understanding racial and ethnic stratification across metropolitan neighborhoods. Two sets of analyses are presented in this dissertation. The first examines differences in neighborhood residential attainment by race, nativity, and period of entry, and considers the role of individual socioeconomic and demographic characteristics for understanding disparities in neighborhood advantage. Results show that Whites and Asians, both native and foreign-born, reside in the most advantaged neighborhoods, whereas being Hispanic or Black is associated with residence in neighborhoods with lower median incomes and higher rates of poverty, net of model controls. The second set of analyses studies racial differences in neighborhood attainment among individuals residing in metropolitan areas with different levels of racial residential segregation. While little difference was found in neighborhood income and poverty between Hispanics and native Whites residing in metropolitan areas with low Hispanic-native White segregation net of differences in individual socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, substantial Hispanic-native White and Black-native White disparities were found among those residing in moderately and highly segregated metropolitan areas. Hispanics in moderately and highly segregated metropolitan areas experienced a similar gap in neighborhood advantage, relative to native Whites, as was experienced by Blacks. Consistent with spatial assimilation theory, individual differences in socioeconomic and acculturation characteristics such as education and English language proficiency explained some of the between-race differences in neighborhood advantage, and most of the within-race differences among immigrants by period of entry. However, the large and persistent Black-White and Hispanic-White gaps in locational attainment suggest that processes aside from individual attainment explain the lower residential attainment of Blacks and Hispanics, providing some supporting evidence for the place stratification framework. In addition, the high level of locational attainment among Asians and the variation in neighborhood advantage across metropolitan areas by level of residential segregation for Hispanics and Blacks support the importance of both individual and contextual factors, consistent with the main tenets of segmented assimilation theory.