Are Central Cities Poor and Non-White?

50 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2017

See all articles by Jenny Schuetz

Jenny Schuetz

Brookings Institution

Arturo Gonzalez

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Jeff Larrimore

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Ellen A Merry

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Barbara J. Robles

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: 2017-03

Abstract

For much of the 20th century, America's central cities were viewed as synonymous with economic and social hardship, often used as proxy for low-income communities of color. Since the 1990s, however, many metropolitan areas have seen a resurgence of interest in central city neighborhoods. Theoretical models of income sorting lead to ambiguous predictions about where households of different income levels will live within metropolitan areas. In this paper, we explore intra-city spatial patterns of income and race for U.S. metropolitan areas, focusing particularly on the locations of low-income and minority neighborhoods. Results indicate that, on average, income and white population shares increase with distance to city centers. However, many centrally located neighborhoods are neither low-income nor majority non-white, while low-income and minority neighborhoods are spatially dispersed across most metropolitan areas.

Keywords: Community development, Demographic economics, Housing policy, Income sorting, Neighborhood choice, Racial segregation, Urban spatial structure, Urban, rural and regional economics

JEL Classification: I3, J1, R1, R2

Suggested Citation

Schuetz, Jenny and Gonzalez, Arturo and Larrimore, Jeff and Merry, Ellen A and Robles, Barbara J., Are Central Cities Poor and Non-White? (2017-03). FEDS Working Paper No. 2017-031, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2943919 or http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2017.031

Jenny Schuetz (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Arturo Gonzalez

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Jeff Larrimore

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Ellen A Merry

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Barbara J. Robles

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

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