Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Residential Mobility Pathways of the Urban Poor: A Spatial and Network Approach

Corina Graif, University of Michigan

Studies that examine residential mobility across space tend to treat neighborhoods as independent units and ignore the strong socio-spatial and structural interdependencies between sending and receiving neighborhoods. This paper aims to examine these interdependencies and integrate two conceptual and methodological frameworks: spatial analysis and network analysis. Results from analyses of residential history data between 1994 and 2002 of 959 low-income families who participated in the Moving to Opportunity housing experiment in Boston show that neighborhood homophily characterizes respondents’ patterns of mobility across space. Neighborhoods connected by the control group's mobility are more similar in high disadvantage than neighborhoods connected through complier moves, and the two inter-neighborhood connectivity patterns tend to not overlap. In contrast to white and Hispanic trajectories and despite the critical exogenous shock of the MTO intervention, Blacks’ residential mobility shows little evidence of divergence from the structurally reinforcing spatial circuits of disadvantage and segregation.

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Presented in Session 83: Spatial and Network Analysis