Measuring Stable Residential Racial Integration

Authors: Ankit Rastogi*, University of Wisconsin
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Social Geography, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Integration, Segregation, Race and Ethnicity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Civil Rights activists of the 20th century asserted that integration is fundamental to racial equality. However, demographic studies of geography and race frequently reduce the idea of integration to general statements about diversity and “less segregation,” and commonly-used indices of segregation measure racial heterogeneity over large geographic and short temporal scales. In the current study, I present a definition of residential integration that emphasizes segregation’s impact on place-based racial inequality, and classifies places as integrated only when they cover socially-meaningful spaces and display temporally-stable racial compositions, two conditions that demonstrably impact minorities’ life chances. I calculate the spatial information theory index (H~) using longitudinal data for a mid-level geographic unit, Census Places. To assess this method, I identify integrated communities in California and Maryland and compare my results against methods that use cross-sectional data with differing geographic levels. Results indicate integrated places lie within traditionally-segregated metropolitan areas.

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