Accessibility to Housing: Differential Residential Segregation for Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asians
Joe T. Darden
Residential segregation is clearly one of the most significant, sensitive, and difficult problems facing American society. It remains an American dilemma. Residential segregation can be conceptualized as an adaptation of a particular group to certain spatial constraints within the urban environment. Since individual access to housing within the residential marketplace is constrained by numerous factors, including ability to pay, segregation occurs between groups ( Hawley, 1950; Alonso, 1960). Implicit in ecological theory is that a group's status strongly influences its ability to obtain access to housing and that those structural features of metropolitan areas which affect housing supply and demand influence the level of segregation.
According to theories of human ecology, variation in segregation between groups relates directly to measurable differences on social and economic variables ( Burgess, 1923; Park, 1926; Massey, 1981: 316). Thus, low status groups tend to be spatially segregated from higher status groups, partly because high status persons avoid locating their residences in the same areas, and partly because low status persons are less able to compete for the more expensive residential homes occupied by high status groups ( Marshall and Jiobu, 1975: 449). The relationship between socioeconomic status of ethnic and racial groups and residential segregation has been examined by several studies.
Most past research has shown an inverse relationship between the level of an ethnic group's socioeconomic status and that ethnic group's level of residential segregation.