Cohort and Age Effects in Racial Residential Segregation in U.S. Cities

Christopher S. Marcum, University of California, Irvine
Susan K. Brown, University of California, Irvine

This study examines changes in age-specific segregation among non-Hispanics whites and blacks from 1990 to 2000 in 122 U.S. cities. Using Summary File 1 of the U.S. Census, we find that on average, young adults (ages 25-34) have the lowest levels of segregation, while the elderly have the highest levels of segregation. This age difference is most pronounced in the cities with the lowest segregation, suggesting that movement of younger people is driving desegregation in those cities. But between 1990 and 2000, the largest overall declines in segregation occurred among the oldest cohorts (age 85 and up). Cohort change was greatest among the youngest and oldest adults, though probably for different reasons. Our findings suggest that for younger cohorts, black-white segregation may be slightly lower than is often thought.

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Presented in Poster Session 5