Patterns of Minority Suburbanization in U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 1970 to 2010

Jeffrey M. Timberlake, University of Cincinnati
Aaron J. Howell, University of Cincinnati

Much scholarship has argued that minority suburbanization has been confined largely to inner-ring suburbs; however, few studies have investigated this question empirically. Prior research tends to treat suburbs as all metropolitan area tracts that are not in the central city, not accounting for the spatial location of those suburban places. We use GIS to code the suburban ring of all Census Designated Places in some 250 metropolitan areas. We use multi-level modeling techniques to investigate patterns of white and minority suburbanization from 1970 to 2010. We examine inequality in the difference between the average minority representation in the central city versus the first ring of suburbs, and in the extent to which each successive suburban ring has a lower (or higher) percentage of each group. The results from this study provide a detailed picture of the extent to which suburbs—and more importantly, which suburbs—have become more ethnically heterogeneous over time.

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Presented in Session 134: Residential Mobility, Suburbanization, and Exurbanization