For blacks in America, the gap in neighborhood poverty has declined faster than segregation

Glenn Firebaugh, Francesco Acciai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Black residential segregation has been declining in the United States. That accomplishment rings hollow, however, if blacks continue to live in much poorer neighborhoods than other Americans. This study uses census data for all US metropolitan areas in 1980 and 2010 to compare decline in the neighborhood poverty gap between blacks and other Americans with decline in the residential segregation of blacks. We find that both declines resulted primarily from narrowing differences between blacks and whites as opposed to narrowing differences between blacks and Hispanics or blacks and Asians. Because black-white differences in neighborhood poverty declined much faster than black-white segregation, the neighborhood poverty disadvantage of blacks declined faster than black segregation- a noteworthy finding because the narrowing of the racial gap in neighborhood poverty for blacks has gone largely unnoticed. Further analysis reveals that the narrowing of the gapwas produced by change in both the medians and shapes of the distribution of poverty across the neighborhoods where blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians reside.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13372-13377
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 22 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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