How segregated are we by age? An analysis of the changing intergenerational relationships in the US

Authors: Debasree Das Gupta*, Utah State University, David W. Wong, George Mason University
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Population Geography
Keywords: age-segregation, intergenerational, spatial
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 24
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Findings from prior studies reveal that racial-ethnic segregation in the U.S. has been declining. Such a trend would indicate that the mix of US racial ethnic composition is becoming more diverse over time. Given this finding, the implicit assumption in previous studies has been that racial/ethnic segregation across age groups is nonsignificant. Separation by age, another type of segregation, was formally evaluated decades ago. A temporal analysis using decennial census block level data from 1990 to 2010 and the two age groups (20-34 and over 60) provide evidence that the older adult population has become more segregated in recent decades. While older adults might have experienced an increasing degree of segregation from the non-elderly populations, the question that is worthy of attention is whether the increasing degree of separation, and related temporality, are trends that are uniform across all age groups. We conduct an analysis to examine the intersectionality between the two types of segregation – racial-ethnic and age. Using data at the tract instead of block level, we evaluate racial-ethnic segregation with population divided into the three age groups of: 0 to 14, 15 to 64, 65 and over. These age groups are in line with the traditional age boundaries applied to calculate dependency ratios. In our computation, we consider segregation by race-ethnicity pairwise for each of the three age groups. Findings indicate that, in general, racial-ethnic segregation has declined over the decades across all age groups. Among the three age groups, older adults have the highest racial-ethnic segregation.

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