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Black–White and Hispanic–White Segregation in U.S. Counties

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Residential segregation in metropolitan areas has been the subject of much research, but this article analyzes patterns of white–black and white–Hispanic segregation in counties across the United States. Our purpose was to understand county variations in this one dimension of inequality. Conceiving of segregation as relative inequality of access to neighborhood resources, we measured segregation in 2000 by the index of dissimilarity (D) calculated by blocks, mapped the index values, and correlated them with census variables. Three filters enabled us to eliminate counties with characteristics that could have corrupted the analyses, leaving us with more than 1,000 counties in each analysis. Both minority groups were less segregated from whites in the West and South and in metropolitan counties. Lower segregation was strongly associated with higher minority socioeconomic status and higher percentages of minorities living in housing built in the 1990s, and Hispanic–white segregation was lower where more Hispanics were U.S.-born or English proficient. The racial threat hypothesis was supported only weakly and inconsistently. Mapping made it possible to identify regional and local patterns of high and low segregation as well as the lower segregation of suburban counties in some large metropolitan areas.
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Keywords: Hispanics; blacks; blancos; condados; counties; hispanos; negros; segregaciĆ³n; segregation; whites

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: California State University, Northridge

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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