Two Paths to Segregation: The Social Dimensions of Residential Location among Traditional and Alternative Households

Amy L. Fuhrman, University of Washington

Changes in the family, including increasing divergence from a “traditional” family, present the opportunity to explore household composition, independent of life cycle stage, as an emerging dimension of residential segregation. Using 2000 U.S. Census and IPUMS data for King County, Washington, I explore segregation between traditional and alternative households within life cycle stages by comparing married parents, single mothers, and single fathers; male-female cohabitors, male-male cohabitors, and female-female cohabitors; and young males and females living alone. I find evidence of segregation between all pairs of households, with gay and lesbian cohabitors experiencing the highest segregation of any pair. Socioeconomic status explains some of the segregation between traditional and alternative households, while race/ethnicity is not an important explanation. Most of the segregation, especially between two alternative households, is left unexplained. Other explanations may include distinct housing needs and preferences despite life cycle similarity, or barriers such as discrimination.

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Presented in Poster Session 7