Magazine article Poverty & Race

Diverse Neighborhoods: The (mis)Match between Attitudes and Actions

Magazine article Poverty & Race

Diverse Neighborhoods: The (mis)Match between Attitudes and Actions

Article excerpt

One of HUD's four programmatic goals is to "Build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination." In 2013, HUD's Office of PD&R issued a five-year Research Roadmap that highlighted the importance of-but lack of research about- the housing search process of racial and ethnic minorities and in particular as it relates to residential segregation and stratification processes. As the Roadmap (HUD Research Roadmap FY2014-FY2018, 2013, p. 98, available at http://www.huduser.org/portal/pdf/Research_Roadmap.pdf) points out: "HUD does not know how households search for housing and what their preferences are when searching for housing." Understanding this critical process is foundational for a number of core HUD programs and policies, including the Housing Choice Voucher program, housing integration strategies, and discrimination testing and enforcement. In a forthcoming research article ("Realizing racial and ethnic neighborhood preferences? Exploring the mismatches between what people want, where they search and where they live," to appear in Population Research and Policy Review, published by Springer), which I wrote together with Esther Havekes and Michael D.M. Bader, we heed this call, using an innovative survey conducted in Chicago. We provide compelling patterns that reveal salient racial and ethnic differences in terms of the relationship between where people want to live, where they live, and, importantly, where they look to live. That is, mismatches between their attitudes toward living in diverse neighborhoods and their actions, reflected in the kinds of neighborhoods in which they search and live. What is new about this study is that for the first time we have detailed data on the places people searched for housing-and we are then able to explore how the racial composition of those locations relates to what they say they want and where they actually live. Because our interest is in how this speaks to the stubbornly persistent patterns of racial segregation in Chicago and other major U.S. cities, we examine the attitudes and actions related to a neighborhood's racial/ethnic composition in particular.

Our data come from a random sample of people aged 21 and older who live in households in Cook County (which includes the city of Chicago) who were interviewed in their homes between August 2004 and August 2005. The survey touched on a variety of topics related to neighborhoods, preferences and housing searches, including (1) a measure asking people to create a neighborhood with their ideal racial/ethnic composition; (2) a map showing 41 communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area that they used to identify communities where they searched during the previous 10 years; and (3) their current residence (so that we could use Census data to determine the racial/ ethnic composition of their current neighborhood).

The first salient pattern from our data is that people from all three major racial/ethnic groups in the Chicago area (whites, blacks, and Latinos) report a preference for a diverse neighborhood (see first column of charts in the Figure). Whites report a preference for the greatest percentage of their own group-at 46% white residents, the neighborhood falls just short, on average, of being majority white. But whites are the largest group. African Americans and Latinos also create ideal neighborhoods where their own group is the largest-but at, on average, 37% and 32%, respectively, their own group is not the numerical majority. The rest of the neighborhood-for whites, blacks, and Latinos-is comprised of about equal percentages of the other groups they were invited to include (the options they were given were: Hispanics, Arab Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and whites).

With these attitudes for a rather remarkable level of neighborhood diversity in mind, we now turn to the two related actions for which we have data. Specifically, how do these attitudes relate to (1) the racial composition of the person's current neighborhood; and, most importantly, (2) where people actually searched for housing. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.