American Neighborhoods and Residential Differentiation

American Neighborhoods and Residential Differentiation

Michael J. White
Copyright Date: 1987
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610445580
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    American Neighborhoods and Residential Differentiation
    Book Description:

    Residential patterns are reflections of social structure; to ask, "who lives in which neighborhoods," is to explore a sorting-out process that is based largely on socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and life cycle characteristics.

    This benchmark volume uses census data, with its uniquely detailed information on small geographic areas, to bring into focus the familiar yet often vague concept of neighborhood. Michael White examines nearly 6,000 census tracts (approximating neighborhoods) in twenty-one representative metropolitan areas, from Atlanta to Salt Lake City, Newark to San Diego. The availability of statistics spanning several decades and covering a wide range of demographic characteristics (including age, race, occupation, income, and housing quality) makes possible a rich analysis of the evolution and implications of differences among neighborhoods.

    In this complex mosaic, White finds patterns and traces them over time-showing, for example, how racial segregation has declined modestly while socioeconomic segregation remains constant, and how population diffusion gradually affects neighborhood composition. His assessment of our urban settlement system also illuminates the social forces that shape contemporary city life and the troubling policy issues that plague it.

    A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-558-0
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    Charles F. Westoff

    American Neighborhoods and Residential Differentiationis one of an ambitious series of volumes aimed at converting the vast statistical yield of the 1980 census into authoritative analyses of major changes and trends in American life. This series, “The Population of the United States in the 1980s,” represents an important episode in social science research and revives a long tradition of independent census analysis. First in 1930, and then again in 1950 and 1960, teams of social scientists worked with the U.S. Bureau of the Census to investigate significant social, economic, and demographic developments revealed by the decennial censuses. These census...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. List of Figures
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. 1 NEIGHBORHOODS AND URBAN SOCIETY
    (pp. 1-23)

    One particularly telling way in which contemporary society manifests its social structure is in the residential pattern of the settlement system. In addition to providing a window on society, the pattern of neighborhoods tells us about the form and function of the settlement system generally.¹ Where people live is also partly determined by the location of jobs and industry, by the technology of transportation and communication, and by the availability of (and selective preference for) local public services.

    The concept of neighborhood is important in urban policy, social science, and everyday city living, yet the neighborhood is a difficult entity...

  7. 2 A LOOK AT NEIGHBORHOODS IN 1980
    (pp. 24-60)

    Our principal objective in this chapter is factual description of where metropolitan areas and their neighborhoods stand as of 1980. This chapter concentrates on examining the neighborhood statistics directly. It should help the reader get an overall sense of the kind of information the U.S. census provides for small areas and of the range of characteristics that exists for neighborhoods.

    We will proceed by first comparing the distribution of characteristics across neighborhoods to that for the population for the nation as a whole. This will provide a sense of the way in which the nation’s persons and families aggregate themselves...

  8. 3 NEIGHBORHOOD SOCIAL DIMENSIONS
    (pp. 61-81)

    In this chapter we look at the interrelationships among the many characteristics available for small areas in the decennial census. Motivation for this undertaking is twofold. On the one hand, we wish to speak to the desire among many users of census information for a “profile” of a region’s neighborhoods. On the other hand, we inquire more generally about how social characteristics are intertwined in the sorting out process, and whether they point to independent underlying dimensions of urban differentiation. Our analysis draws from a substantial research tradition in social area analysis and factorial ecology. We begin by discussing the...

  9. 4 NEIGHBORHOOD DIVERSITY AND SEGREGATION
    (pp. 82-116)

    We can think of neighborhoods as the tiles that make up the mosaic of the settlement system. If we were to shade each tile of the mosaic according to the intensity of a social characteristic represented there, the unevenness of the shading would be an indicator of segregation. For example, we may use proportion of the adult population with college education as the indicator. If every neighborhood (census tract) were equal on this social status measure, then the map of the metropolitan area would be a single shade. If, on the other hand, some neighborhoods had high fractions of college...

  10. 5 THE SPATIAL ORGANIZATION OF THE METROPOLIS
    (pp. 117-180)

    In this chapter we turn to direct analysis of the spatial patterns exhibited by metropolitan neighborhoods. To be sure, previous chapters have examined some spatial phenomena, especially segregation. But segregation and factorial ecology measures reflect only unevenness in the distribution of social characteristics or their interrelations across observations on neighborhoods, respectively. Neighborhoods could be “shuffled” around the metropolis in any fashion, and the tabulations would be identical. As a further step in the analysis of residential differentiation, we wish to take into account the proximity of neighborhoods to one another, searching for larger patterns in the distribution of socioeconomic status,...

  11. 6 NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGE IN THE DYNAMIC METROPOLIS
    (pp. 181-222)

    It has become a cliché to describe the modern metropolis as one “in transition.” Change is a permanent part of the metropolis. But what kind of transition has gone on, and what will be the look of urban America in the future? What do we mean when we say that the metropolis is undergoing change? The urban crisis has given way to the fiscal crisis and these to the search for a new urban role within the transformation of the American economy.¹ It is clear that cities are different entities today than they were a half-century, or even a decade...

  12. 7 EVOLVING METROPOLITAN STRUCTURE
    (pp. 223-250)

    We now turn to the issue of the structure of the nation’s metropolitan areas. By structure we mean the way in which the residential neighborhoods and major nonresidential activities are organized in the metropolitan territory. A number of writers have already described or conjectured about how trends during the 1970s have changed the shape of the metropolis. In an attempt to fill out that picture with detailed census information, we draw on our results regarding residential differentiation and spatial organization in the previous chapters, and add to it other information about changes in transportation and economic structure in the nation....

  13. 8 NEIGHBORHOODS, METROPOLITAN CHANGE, AND PUBLIC POLICY
    (pp. 251-269)

    As a network of sites for the production of goods and services, the system of metropolitan areas in the United States plays an important role in the economic well-being of the nation and the patterns of opportunity that prevail for its workers. Opinions differ on exactly how manipulable that role can or should be. Proponents of one argument hold that cities, and places generally, should be the object of policy. Arguments for an explicit national urban policy as voiced during the Carter administration fall into this category. But in recent years an increasing number of voices claim that the public...

  14. APPENDIX A: QUALITY OF SMALL AREA DATA IN THE 1980 CENSUS
    (pp. 270-285)
  15. APPENDIX B: GEOGRAPHIC CONCEPTS AND DATA SOURCES
    (pp. 286-300)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 301-304)
  17. Name Index
    (pp. 305-308)
  18. Subject Index
    (pp. 309-327)