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Toward a New Macro-Segregation? Diversity, Immigration, and Changing U.S. Settlement Patterns

9th July 2014 3pm, University of Southampton, 58/1007

Dan Lichter, Cornell University

This paper documents a new macro-segregation, where the locus of racial differentiation in the United States (and perhaps in Europe) resides increasingly in socio-spatial processes at the community or place level. Specifically, it (1) shows how growing ethnoracial diversity has unfolded unevenly over geographic space in an era of rapid immigration, and (2) illustrates a spatially-inclusive approach that identifies emerging patterns of segregation within and between cities, suburbs, and small towns. The results, based on U.S. census data between 1990 and 2010 suggest a new form of racial and ethnic segregation, one where the locus of ethnoracial differentiation increasingly resides in places - cities, suburbs, and small towns - rather than in urban neighborhoods. Analyses highlight the rise in new immigrant destinations, the growth in majority-minority cities and communities, and offsetting patterns of ethnoracial segregation at different spatial scales (e.g., declines in neighborhood-to-neighborhood but increasing city-to-suburb and suburb-to-suburb segregation). Segregation in America has taken a new turn. The usual focus on declining big-city neighborhood segregation, as a measure of social distance or shifting boundaries between groups, is arguably incomplete at best and misleading at worst. Residential segregation is increasingly shaped by the cities and communities in which neighborhoods are embedded.