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Patterns and consequences of segregation: An analysis of ethnic residential segregation at two geographic scales

Kenneth N French, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


American cities are diverse, with people from various ethnic backgrounds calling the city their home. Instead of having numerous culturally mixed neighborhoods, many residential areas are segregated by ethnicity. Also, social opportunities, such as access to jobs and quality education, are not evenly distributed in urban space. In short, separate living spaces may not mean equal living spaces. What are the impacts of living in White or African American or Hispanic or Asian neighborhoods? Thus, it is worthwhile to investigate the patterns and consequences of ethnic residential segregation.^ This dissertation employs several cartographic, geographic information system (GIS), and statistical techniques to analyze ethnic residential segregation at two geographic scales: nationally and locally. At the national scale, segregation levels (dissimilarity index) were mapped and statistically categorized into different regions. Cities in the Northeast are the most segregated, followed by cities in the South, and then by cities in the West. Multiple regression equations reveal regional differences in socioeconomic characteristics that explain segregation within each region. For example, what explains White-African American segregation in the Northeast is different than what explains White-African American segregation in the West.^ Locally, a case study of Omaha, Nebraska investigates the patterns and consequences of segregation within a city. In 2000, African Americans predominantly reside in North Omaha, Hispanics in South Omaha, and Whites and Asians in the suburbs of western Omaha. A comparison of the characteristics of ethnically-concentrated neighborhoods reveals several social inequalities. Segregated African American and Hispanic neighborhoods generally have lower socioeconomic characteristics, such as lower education and income, than segregated White and Asian places. A positive outgrowth of African American and Hispanic segregation is the development of ethnic businesses, community organizations, churches, and festivals. Nonetheless, ethnic residential segregation in Omaha benefited some groups over others. Overall, this dissertation finds that social inequality and spatial inequality appear to be linked in American urban society.^

Subject Area

Geography|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

French, Kenneth N, "Patterns and consequences of segregation: An analysis of ethnic residential segregation at two geographic scales" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3315886.