Racial Segregation and Contextual Advantage in U.S. Cities

Lincoln Quillian, Northwestern University

A frequently-cited model of why segregation contributes to inequality is that segregation increases the level of contextual advantage experienced by members of advantaged segregated groups and the level of contextual disadvantage of disadvantaged segregated groups. This paper provides a formal demographic model of this process and applies the model to understanding differences in poverty contact across American racial and ethnic groups. The model begins with two groups that differ along a dimension of average advantage and disadvantage, for instance two racial groups that differ in their poverty rates. The model employs standard measures of segregation and contact from the segregation measurement literature and illustrates how the contextual advantages and disadvantages from segregation are affected by a series of demographic conditions. The paper’s decomposition is applied to racial inequality in poverty contact with neighborhoods.

Presented in Session 129: Race and Ethnic Residential Patterns in the U.S. and Canada