Residential Settlement Mechanisms in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, University of Washington

In this project we analyze Census 2000 data for 36 metropolitan areas in the United States that have only two major racial/ethnic groups, using a recently developed statistical framework for modeling systems with complex dependencies that allows for the inference of social mechanisms from cross-sectional data (Butts, 2007). Our results show remarkable similarity among these areas in terms of xenophobia, the tendency of the groups to separate spatially based on ethnicity. On the other hand, they show much wider variation in the levels of ethnic homophily manifested by the minority and majority groups, which are linked mainly to the proportion minority in the metropolitan area: the bigger the minority group, the weaker the minority homophily effect and the stronger the majority homophily effect. We discuss the contribution of the project to our understanding of residential settlement and segregation and suggest some directions for future work.

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Presented in Session 155: Racial and Ethnic Residential Segregation Dynamics