Persistent Neighborhood Diversity: Methodological Issues and an Application to Chicago

Authors: Luc Anselin*, University of Chicago, Emily Talen, University of Chicago
Topics: Urban Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: spatial analysis, neighborhoods, diversity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Lack of economic integration at the neighborhood scale is viewed as a significant problem given its association with aggregated disadvantage (concentrated poverty) or advantage (concentrated wealth). Much research has focused on the prevalence and persistence of this segregation. This paper focuses on the opposite: the case of persistent integration or diversity. Using tract-level census data for Chicago for 1950, 1980 and 2010, our analysis explores the persistence of diverse neighborhoods along a number of dimensions, such as income, age and occupation. To carry out this analysis, a number of methodological issues need to be addressed. First, one needs to create a consistent set of areal units for the three periods, since the census tract boundaries are not consistent over the 60-year time frame. A second issue is the choice of a measure of diversity. Diversity as such is ill-defined, but can be assessed by means of a number of inequality or segregation indices, such as Gini coefficients, entropy measures, etc. Alternatively, relative measures can be employed, that compare a neighborhood’s profile to that of the city as a whole. Thirdly, the determination of what is stable diversity is not without ambiguity. In this paper, we compare measures of tract-level diversity over time and across space. We identify those neighborhoods (tracts) that are deemed stable and compare these findings across methods. Finally, we identify correlates from spatial, morphological, and socio-economic variables that may contribute to an understanding of the occurrence of persistent diversity

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