Atteberry, Allison, Kendra Bischoff, and Ann Owens. 2021. “Identifying Progress Toward Ethnoracial Achievement Equity across U.S. School Districts: A New Approach”. Journal of Research on Education Effectiveness 14 (2):410-441. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We draw on novel district-level test score data to describe novel approaches for measuring ethnoracial achievement gaps and assessing trends toward achievement equity from 2009 to 2016. Using SEDA data, we estimate gap trends for each grade over time in each district. We measure trends in both within-district gaps—comparing Black or Hispanic to White students in the same district—and national gaps—comparing a district’s Black or Hispanic students to White students nationally. Withindistrict ethnoracial gaps shrunk in one-third to two-thirds of districts, depending on subject and ethnoracial dyad. Across subjects and ethnoracial dyads, national gaps shrunk in more than half of districts, indicating that non-White students gained on White students nationally, but not in their own districts. Our findings add complexity to the achievement gap literature by (1) estimating gaps at the district level; (2) noting considerable variation in the magnitude of gap shrinkage across districts; (3) pointing to the importance of comparison group and imperfect correspondence of within-district and national gap trends in districts; and (4) identifying variation in gap trends across grades and subjects.
Rich, Peter M., Jennifer Candipan, and Ann Owens. 2021. “Segregated Neighborhoods, Segregated Schools: Do Charters Break a Stubborn Link?”. Demography 58 (2):471-498. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Residential and school segregation have historically mirrored each other, with school segregation seen as simply reflecting residential patterns given neighborhood-based school assignment policy. We argue that the relationship is circular, such that school options also influence residential outcomes. We hypothesize that the expansion of charter schools could simultaneously lead to an increase in school segregation and a decrease in residential segregation. We examine what happens when neighborhood and school options are decoupled via public school choice in the form of charter schools using data from the census and the Common Core of Data on a national sample of more than 1,500 metropolitan districts. We find that Black-White school segregation increased and residential segregation declined in response to increases in the charter enrollment share from 2000 to 2010. In districts with charter schools, the average increase in the charter enrollment share corresponded to a 12% increase in school segregation and 2% decline in residential segregation. We find no relationship between charter school expansion and school segregation between White and Hispanic students, perhaps because Hispanic students attend more racially diverse charters than White or Black students. White-Hispanic residential segregation declined as charter enrollment increased. Our results demonstrate that educational policy is consequential for both school and neighborhood population processes. When these two contexts are decoupled via public school choice, school and neighborhood segregation patterns move in opposite directions, rather than mirroring each other. Our findings also provide a cautionary lesson for unfettered expansion of choice without integration imperatives.
Dhaliwal, Tasminda K, Soledad De Gregorio, Ann Owens, and Gary Painter. 2021. “Putting Homelessness in Context: The Schools and Neighborhoods of Students Experiencing Homelessness”. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 693 (1):158-176. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The number of K–12 students experiencing homelessness is increasing across the country. Schools may serve as sources of support and stability for homeless children, but little is known about the types of schools that homeless students attend or about the communities in which they live. We investigate the context of student homelessness in Los Angeles by analyzing student-level administrative data from the Los Angeles Unified School District and publicly available data on neighborhoods and schools from school years 2008–2009 to 2016–2017. Our findings suggest that homeless students tend to be clustered within lower-achieving schools with higher concentrations of disadvantaged student groups and live in neighborhoods with higher concentrated disadvantage. Despite policy provisions to ensure stability, homeless students have high rates of school and residential mobility in the years they are homeless, and mobile students tend to move to less-disadvantaged schools. We conclude with policy implications to strengthen the implementation of the federal McKinney-Vento Act.
Fleming, Douglas, Ann Owens, Marc Eckstein, and Stephen Sanko. 2021. “Spatiotemporal analysis of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the City of Los Angeles, 2011-2019”. Resuscitation 165:110-118. Publisher's VersionAbstract


The goal of this analysis is to spatiotemporally identify and categorize areas in a large urban city according to Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) rates and No Bystander CPR (NBCPR) risk levels.

Study Area and Participants

The study comprised all cardiac arrests within the administrative geographic boundary of the City of Los Angeles. The final sample included 15,904 cases that were geolocated within 985 census tracts.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcome was stratification of census tracts into risk levels of OHCA and NBCPR by observed spatiotemporal patterns.


Of 985 census tracts in the analytical sample, 182 census tracts (18.5%) were identified as having higher risk of OHCA and NBCPR. This assessment resulted in 129 census tracts in Tier 3 (moderate risk), 36 in Tier 2 (moderate-high risk), and 17 in Tier 1 (highest risk). Census tracts in Tiers 2 and 3 had higher amounts incident OHCA, while those in tier 1 had more OHCA events with NBCPR. These areas were largely contiguous and located in the Central and South areas of Los Angeles.


Using a novel three-tiered neighborhood risk classification tool, specific neighborhoods have been identified in the second largest city in the U.S. with consistently high or accelerating rates of OHCA and low bystander CPR. Further study of bystander response and community-based public health campaigns are needed in these communities.

Plasman, Jay, Michael Gottfried, Darryl Williams, Mary Ippolito, and Ann Owens. 2021. “Parents’ Occupations and Students’ Success in STEM Fields: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis”. Adolescent Research Review 633-44. Publisher's VersionAbstract
There is a well-established body of literature regarding how formal aspects of school impact high school students’ interest, achievement, and persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. However, less is known regarding the influence of informal factors (e.g., parents, social groups) on these STEM outcomes. This study helps address this gap by synthesizing interdisciplinary, international research on the role of parents’ professionalism and parents’ STEM occupation on a variety of STEM-related outcomes. Resulting evidence indicated a positive relationship between parents’ professionalism—a measure of job status such that professional occupations are defined as requiring high-level literacy and numeracy skills that are typically gained as a result of postsecondary education—and high school students’ success and persistence in STEM fields. With respect to parents employed in STEM occupations and high school students’ success and persistence in STEM fields, there was also an observed connection. Female and minority students tended to see more wide-ranging benefits from having a professional or STEM parent than did male and white students respectively. This study helps to draw insights into the role of parents’ occupation in influencing STEM achievement and participation.
Owens, Ann. 2020. “Unequal Opportunity: School and Neighborhood Segregation in the U.S.”. Race and Social Problems 12 (1):29-41. Publisher's VersionAbstract
School and neighborhood segregation are intertwined in complex ways. Schools reflect segregated neighborhoods, and school considerations reinforce neighborhood segregation. Over the past 25 years, racial segregation in neighborhoods and schools has slightly declined in terms of sorting, though children remain racially isolated in their neighborhoods and schools. Income segregation between schools, school districts, and neighborhoods has increased among children. Recent educational policy and demographic changes may break the link between neighborhood and school segregation. As population diversity increases, the proliferation of school choice leads schools and neighborhoods to resemble one another less, with schools becoming more segregated than their local neighborhoods. Regardless of the complicated and changing ways neighborhood and school segregation shape and reshape one another, segregation in both contexts remains high in the twenty-first century. Drawing on administrative data, I provide a quantitative portrait of the schools and neighborhoods of children from different racial/ethnic groups in 2015, documenting stark inequalities in these contexts. I conclude with a discussion of why segregation matters, what can be done about it, and why something must be done.
Owens, Ann. 2020. “Segregation by Household Composition and Income across Multiple Spatial Scales”. Pp. 239-253 in Handbook on Urban Segregation, edited by Sako Musterd. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.Abstract
Households’ preferences, constraints, and resources shape residential segregation patterns. These factors vary according to their demographic features, including the composition of the household. Drawing on U.S. Census and American Community Survey data, I estimate segregation of households with and without children between neighborhoods, places, and cities and suburbs in the 100 most populous metropolitan areas in the US from 1990 to 2014. Households with and without children became less segregated and the city-suburban divide in their location weakened over time. I then examine income segregation among households with and without children among these same three geographies. Income segregation is higher and increased more among households with children, and high- and low-income parents are increasingly separating across municipalities. However, high- and low-income households with children are segregating more between suburbs, not between cities and suburbs. Together, these analyses reveal how household demography shapes residential sorting within and between places
Owens, Ann. 2019. “Building Inequality: Housing Segregation and Income Segregaton”. Sociological Science 6497-525. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article foregrounds housing in the study of residential segregation. The spatial configuration of housing determines the housing opportunities in each neighborhood, the backdrop against which households’ resources, preferences, and constraints play out. I use census and American Community Survey data to provide the first evidence of the extent of housing segregation by type and by cost at multiple geographic scales in large metropolitan areas in the United States from 1990 to 2014. Segregation between single- and multifamily homes and renter- and owner-occupied homes increased in most metropolitan areas, whereas segregation by cost declined. Housing segregation varies among metropolitan areas, across geographic scales, and over time, with consequences for income segregation. Income segregation is markedly higher when and where housing segregation is greater. As long as housing opportunities remain segregated, residential segregation will change little, with urgent implications for urban and housing policy makers.
Bischoff, Kendra, and Ann Owens. 2019. “The Segregation of Opportunity: Social and Financial Resources in the Educational Contexts of Lower- and Higher-Income Children, 1990-2014”. Demography 56 (5):1635-1664. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article provides a rich longitudinal portrait of the financial and social resources available in the school districts of high- and low-income students in the United States from 1990 to 2014. Combining multiple publicly available data sources for most school districts in the United States, we document levels and gaps in school district financial resources—total per-pupil expenditures—and social resources—local rates of adult educational attainment, family structure, and adult unemployment—available to the average public school student at a variety of income levels over time. In addition to using eligibility for the National School Lunch Program as a blunt measure of student income, we estimate resource inequalities between income deciles to analyze resource gaps between affluent and poor children. We then examine the relationship between income segregation and resource gaps between the school districts of high- and low-income children. In previous work, the social context of schooling has been a theoretical but unmeasured mechanism through which income segregation may operate to create unequal opportunities for children. Our results show large and, in some cases, growing social resource gaps in the districts of high- and low-income students nationally and provide evidence that these gaps are exacerbated by income segregation. Conversely, per-pupil funding became more compensatory between high- and low-income students’ school districts over this period, especially in highly segregated states. However, there are early signs of reversal in this trend. The results provide evidence that school finance reforms have been somewhat effective in reducing the consequences of income segregation on funding inequities, while inequalities in the social context of schooling continue to grow.
Levy, Brian, Ann Owens, and Robert J. Sampson. 2019. “The Varying Effects of Neighborhood Disadvantage on College Graduation: Moderating and Mediating Mechanisms”. Sociology of Education 92 (3):269-292. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study estimates the effect of neighborhood disadvantage on bachelor’s degree attainment with data from a long-term follow-up of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. We focus on heterogeneous effects by race and class as well as individual and neighborhood mechanisms that might explain observed patterns, including parents’ educational expectations, collective efficacy, social relationships, and neighborhood violence. Using newly developed methods for estimating longitudinal treatment effects, we find that cumulative neighborhood disadvantage in adolescence is strongly associated with lower bachelor’s attainment among high-income blacks and Latinos. We find no effect for whites and at most a modest effect among low- and middle-income blacks/Latinos. A sensitivity analysis suggests that the estimated effect for high-income blacks/Latinos is plausibly causal. These results support an advantage-leveling model of neighborhood effects and add important nuance for research considering how and for whom neighborhoods influence life chances.
Owens, Ann, and Jennifer Candipan. 2019. “Social and Spatial Inequalities of Educational Opportunity: A Portrait of Schools Serving High- and Low-Income Neighbourhoods in US Metropolitan Areas”. Urban Studies 56 (15):3178-3197. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Neighbourhoods and schools are both important contexts for children’s wellbeing. While often posited, little evidence documents inequalities in schools serving high- and low-income neighbourhoods. In this article, we use geospatial techniques to combine five administrative data sets to examine the characteristics of local public schools serving high- and low-income neighbourhoods in US metropolitan areas in 2013–2014. We find that high-income neighbourhoods are served by schools with greater social, financial, and instructional resources and greater student achievement than schools serving low-income neighbourhoods. Moreover, when metropolitan neighbourhoods are highly segregated by income, these inequalities are exacerbated. Our results demonstrate the link between neighbourhood and school disadvantage, with implications for policymakers concerned about social mobility and inequality.
Owens, Ann, and Jennifer Candipan. 2019. “Racial/Ethnic Transition and Hierarchy among Ascending Neighborhoods.”. Urban Affairs Review 55 (6):1550-1578. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article examines the racial/ethnic population dynamics of ascending neighborhoods—those experiencing socioeconomic growth. Drawing on Census and American Community Survey data from 1990 to 2010, we first explore whether changes in racial/ethnic composition occur alongside ascent. We find that, while most neighborhoods’ racial/ethnic composition does not dramatically change during this period, neighborhoods that experienced ascent are much more likely to transition from majority-minority to mixed race or predominantly White than nonascending neighborhoods. Then, we use microdata to analyze whether two potential drivers of ascent, the in-migration of higher-socioeconomic status (SES) households and changes in the fortunes of long-term residents, are racially/ethnically stratified. We argue that the process of neighborhood socioeconomic ascent perpetuates neighborhood racial/ethnic hierarchy. While most Black and Hispanic neighborhoods remain majority-minority, those that ascend are more likely to experience a succession of high-SES White residents replacing minority residents.
Reardon, Sean F., Kendra Bischoff, Ann Owens, and Joseph B. Townsend. 2018. “Has Income Segregation Really Increased? Bias and Bias Correction in Sample-Based Segregation Estimates”. Demography 55 (6):2129-2160. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Several recent studies have concluded that residential segregation by income in the United States has increased in the decades since 1970, including a significant increase after 2000. Income segregation measures, however, are biased upward when based on sample data. This is a potential concern because the sampling rate of the American Community Survey (ACS)—from which post-2000 income segregation estimates are constructed—was lower than that of the earlier decennial censuses. Thus, the apparent increase in income segregation post-2000 may simply reflect larger upward bias in the estimates from the ACS, and the estimated trend may therefore be inaccurate. In this study, we first derive formulas describing the approximate sampling bias in two measures of segregation. Next, using Monte Carlo simulations, we show that the bias-corrected estimators eliminate virtually all of the bias in segregation estimates in most cases of practical interest, although the correction fails to eliminate bias in some cases when the population is unevenly distributed among geographic units and the average within-unit samples are very small. We then use the bias-corrected estimators to produce unbiased estimates of the trends in income segregation over the last four decades in large U.S. metropolitan areas. Using these corrected estimates, we replicate the central analyses in four prior studies on income segregation. We find that the primary conclusions from these studies remain unchanged, although the true increase in income segregation among families after 2000 was only half as large as that reported in earlier work. Despite this revision, our replications confirm that income segregation has increased sharply in recent decades among families with children and that income inequality is a strong and consistent predictor of income segregation.
Owens, Ann. 2018. “Income Segregation between School Districts and Inequality in Students' Achievement.”. Sociology of Education 91 (1):1-27. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Large achievement gaps exist between high- and low-income students and between black and white students. This article explores one explanation for such gaps: income segregation between school districts, which creates inequality in the economic and social resources available in advantaged and disadvantaged students’ school contexts. Drawing on national data, I find that the income achievement gap is larger in highly segregated metropolitan areas. This is due mainly to high-income students performing better, rather than low-income children performing worse, in more-segregated places. Income segregation between districts also contributes to the racial achievement gap, largely because white students perform better in more economically segregated places. Descriptive portraits of the school districts of high- and low-income students show that income segregation creates affluent districts for high-income students while changing the contexts of low-income students negligibly. Considering income and race jointly, I find that only high-income white families live in the affluent districts created by income segregation; black families with identically high incomes live in districts more similar to those of low-income white families. My results demonstrate that the spatial inequalities created by income segregation between school districts contribute to achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students, with implications for future research and policy.
Owens, Ann. 2017. “Racial Residential Segregation of School-Age Children and Adults and the Role of Schooling as a Segregating Force”. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 3 (2):63-80. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Neighborhoods are critical contexts for children’s well-being, but differences in neighborhood inequality among children and adults are understudied. I document racial segregation between neighborhoods among school-age children and adults in 2000 and 2010 and find that though the racial composition of children’s and adults’ neighborhoods is similar, exposure to own-age neighbors varies. Compared with adults’ exposure to other adults, children are exposed to fewer white and more minority, particularly Hispanic, children. This is due in part to compositional differences, but children are also more unevenly sorted across neighborhoods by race than adults. One explanation for higher segregation among children is that parents consider school options when making residential choices. Consistent with this hypothesis, I find that school district boundaries account for a larger proportion of neighborhood segregation among children than among adults. Future research on spatial inequality must consider the multiple contexts differentially contributing to inequality among children and adults.

Owens, Ann, and Susan Clampet-Lundquist. 2017. “Housing Mobility and the Intergenerational Durability of Neighborhood Poverty”. Journal of Urban Affairs 39 (3):400-420. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article uses mixed methods to identify factors that account for the intergenerational durability of neighborhood poverty, drawing on longitudinal data from the Moving to Opportunity study in Baltimore from 1994 to 2010. We use quantitative survey data from 504 young adults and qualitative interview data from 51 young adults to examine family characteristics during childhood that account for residence in high-poverty neighborhoods in young adulthood, considering whether housing assistance interacts with these characteristics to break the intergenerational durability of neighborhood poverty. In combination with housing assistance, family economic resources, social ties to high-poverty neighborhoods, entrenchment in high-poverty neighborhoods, and parents’ neighborhood experiences and expectations influence where young adults live in the next generation. Housing assistance has both replacement effects—substituting for what families lack—and enhancement effects—enabling families with more resources—on the intergenerational durability of neighborhood poverty. This study contributes to our understanding of neighborhood selection, intergenerational neighborhood outcomes, and the role of housing assistance.

Owens, Ann. 2017. “How Do People-Based Housing Policies Affect People (and Place)?”. Housing Policy Debate 2 (1):266-281. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Assisted housing programs in the United States aim to provide decent, safe, and affordable housing for low-income households. Increasingly, policymakers have also considered how assisted housing can provide access to lower poverty, income-diverse, and higher opportunity neighborhoods. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development currently balances two strategies. First, place-based programs—immoveable subsidies linked to particular units—can both revitalize distressed neighborhoods and provide access to higher opportunity neighborhoods. Second, people-based assistance—housing vouchers for use on the private rental market—can facilitate moves out of high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods. During this policy moment with fair housing priorities receiving national attention, understanding the efficacy of each approach is critically important. This article synthesizes past research on housing vouchers to identify the impact of people-based assistance on four outcomes: residents’ neighborhood attainment, education, economic outcomes, and health. I also review the scant literature examining how vouchers affect place rather than people. I conclude by identifying aspects of special voucher programs that promote positive outcomes that could potentially be scaled up.

Owens, Ann, Sean F. Reardon, and Christopher Jencks. 2016. “Income Segregation between Schools and School Districts”. American Educational Research Journal 53 (4):1159-1197. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Although trends in the racial segregation of schools are well documented, less is known about trends in income segregation. We use multiple data sources to document trends in income segregation between schools and school districts. Between-district income segregation of families with children enrolled in public school increased by over 15% from 1990 to 2010. Within large districts, between-school segregation of students who are eligible and ineligible for free lunch increased by over 40% from 1991 to 2012. Consistent with research on neighborhood segregation, we find that rising income inequality contributed to the rise in income segregation between schools and districts during this period. The rise in income segregation between both schools and districts may have implications for inequality in students’ access to resources that bear on academic achievement.

Owens, Ann. 2016. “Inequality in Children’s Contexts: Income Segregation of Households With and Without Children”. American Sociological Review 81 (3):549-574. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Past research shows that income segregation between neighborhoods increased over the past several decades. In this article, I reexamine income segregation from 1990 to 2010 in the 100 largest metropolitan areas, and I find that income segregation increased only among families with children. Among childless households—two-thirds of the population—income segregation changed little and is half as large as among households with children. I examine two factors that may account for these differences by household composition. First, I find that increasing income inequality, identified by past research as a driver of income segregation, was a much more powerful predictor of income segregation among families with children, among whom income inequality has risen more. Second, I find that local school options, delineated by school district boundaries, contribute to higher segregation among households with children compared to households without. Rising income inequality provided high-income households more resources, and parents used these resources to purchase housing in particular neighborhoods, with residential decisions structured, in part, by school district boundaries. Overall, results indicate that children face greater and increasing stratification in neighborhood contexts than do all residents, and this has implications for growing inequalities in their future outcomes.