If Residential Segregation Persists, What Explains Widespread Increases in Residential Diversity?

Samuel Kye , Indiana University
Andrew Halpern-Manners, Indiana University

Recent work has identified increasing residential diversity as a near-universal trend across the United States. At the same time, a wide range of scholarship notes the persistence of white flight and other mechanisms that reproduce residential segregation. In this paper, we attempt to reconcile these findings by arguing that current trends toward increased residential diversity may, in some cases, mask population changes that are more consistent with residential segregation. Specifically, we show that increases in diversity can result from population changes indicative of white flight (future segregation) or spatial assimilation (future integration). These results suggest that in many neighborhoods, increases in diversity may be transitory phenomena driven primarily by a neighborhood's location in the racial turnover process. In the future, stalled or decreasing levels of diversity may become more common in these areas as the process of racial turnover continues.

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 Presented in Session 102. Residential Segregation