Trajectories of Neighborhood Racial and Ethnic Composition Change in Chicago Metropolitan Neighborhoods from 1970 to 2000

Michael D.M. Bader, University of Pennsylvania

Although the process of racial transition or “white flight” was clearly articulated in the work of sociologists following World War II, emerging types of neighborhood change driven by gentrification and immigration challenge the idea that there is a single trajectory of racial and ethnic composition that neighborhoods follow. This paper uses growth mixture models and a dataset of tracts in the greater Chicago metropolitan area that were normalized to their 2000 census tract boundaries to empirically identify patterns of change in neighborhood racial and ethnic composition from 1970 to 2000. The model identifies nine types— or trajectories – of neighborhood racial and ethnic change. These trajectories indicate that racial succession from white to black neighborhoods still occurs, albeit much more slowly in later decades compared to earlier ones, and that Latino growth follows a number of trajectories, including displacement from gentrifying neighborhoods.

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Presented in Session 120: Growth and Decline of Urban Populations