Considerable debate and controversy continue regarding the effects of gentrification on neighborhoods and the people residing in them. This article draws on a unique largescale consumer credit database to examine the relationship between gentrification and the credit scores of residents in the city of Philadelphia from 2002 to 2014. We find that gentrification is positively associated with changes in residents’ credit scores, on average, for those who stay, and this relationship is stronger for residents in neighborhoods in the more advanced stages of gentrification. Gentrification is also positively associated with credit score changes for less-advantaged residents (those with low credit scores, older residents, longer-term residents, or those without mortgages) if they do not move, though the magnitude of this positive association is smaller than for their more advantaged counterparts. Nonetheless, moving from gentrifying neighborhoods is negatively associated with credit score changes for less-advantaged residents, residents who move to lower-income neighborhoods, and residents who move to any other neighborhoods within the city (instead of outside the city) relative to those who stay. The results demonstrate how the association between gentrification and residents’ financial health is uneven, especially for less-advantaged residents.
Since 2000, increased gentrification in an expanding section of cities and neighborhoods has renewed interest from policymakers, researchers, and the public in the causes of gentrification. The identification of causal factors can help inform analyses of welfare, policy responses, and forecasts of future neighborhood change. We highlight some features of recent gentrification that popular understandings often do not emphasize, and we review progress on identifying some causal factors. A complete account of the relative contribution of many factors, however, is still elusive. We suggest questions and opportunities for future research.
Few studies have considered the role of immigration in the rise of gentrification in the late twentieth century. Analysis of U.S. Census and American Community Survey data over 24 years and field surveys of gentrification in low-income neighborhoods across 23 U.S. cities reveal that most gentrifying neighborhoods were “ global” in the 1970s or became so over time. An early presence of Asians was positively associated with gentrification; and an early presence of Hispanics was positively associated with gentrification in neighborhoods with substantial shares of blacks and negatively associated with gentrification in cities with high Hispanic growth, where ethnic enclaves were more likely to form. Low-income, predominantly black neighborhoods and neighborhoods that became Asian and Hispanic destinations remained ungentrified despite the growth of gentrification during the late twentieth century. The findings suggest that the rise of immigration after 1965 brought pioneers to many low-income central-city neighborhoods, spurring gentrification in some neighborhoods and forming ethnic enclaves in others.
Gentrification has provoked considerable controversy surrounding its effects on residential displacement. Using a unique individual-level, longitudinal data set, this study examines mobility rates and residential destinations of residents in gentrifying neighborhoods during the recent housing boom and bust in Philadelphia for various strata of residents and different types of gentrification. We find that vulnerable residents, those with low credit scores and without mortgages, are generally no more likely to move from gentrifying neighborhoods compared with their counterparts in nongentrifying neighborhoods. When they do move, however, they are more likely to move to lower-income neighborhoods. Residents in gentrifying neighborhoods at the aggregate level have slightly higher mobility rates, but these rates are largely driven by more advantaged residents. These findings shed new light on the heterogeneity in mobility patterns across residents in gentrifying neighborhoods and suggest that researchers should focus more attention on the quality of residential moves and nonmoves for less advantaged residents, rather than mobility rates alone.
This study draws upon cognitive maps and interviews with 56 residents living in a gentrifying area to examine how residents socially construct neighborhoods. Most minority respondents, regardless of socioeconomic status and years of residency, defined their neighborhood as a large and inclusive spatial area, using a single name and conventional boundaries, invoking the area’s black cultural history, and often directly responding to the alternative way residents defined their neighborhoods. Both longterm and newer white respondents defined their neighborhood as smaller spatial areas and used a variety of names and unconventional boundaries that excluded areas that they perceived to have lower socioeconomic status and more crime. The large and inclusive socially constructed neighborhood was eventually displaced. These findings shed light on how the internal narratives of neighborhood identity and boundaries are meaningfully tied to a broader structure of inequality and shape how neighborhood identities and boundaries change or remain.
This article examines how the rise of immigration and its associated racial and ethnic changes relate to gentrification. In the decades following the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, gentrification has occurred more in cities with high levels of immigration and in neighborhoods with higher levels of immigrants. These relationships, however, vary by the ways in which a city is racially segregated and by the extent to which its immigrant population has been incorporated. Using crime data, surveys, and new gentrification measures, this article compares Chicago, a highly segregated city and predominantly Hispanic immigrant destination, with Seattle, a predominantly white city with high levels of Asian immigration. The findings show that immigration and its correlates have distinct and evolving relationships with neighborhood changes that are embedded in the racial and immigrant histories of each city, and that gentrification perpetuates racial and ethnic inequality in both cities.
Recent studies find that high levels of black-white segregation increased rates of foreclosures and subprime lending across U.S. metropolitan areas during the housing crisis. These studies speculate that segregation created distinct geographic markets that enabled subprime lenders and brokers to leverage the spatial proximity of minorities to disproportionately target minority neighborhoods. Yet, the studies do not explicitly test whether the concentration of subprime loans in minority neighborhoods varied by segregation levels. We address this shortcoming by integrating neighborhood-level data and spatial measures of segregation to examine the relationship between segregation and subprime lending across the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Controlling for alternative explanations of the housing crisis, we find that segregation is strongly associated with higher concentrations of subprime loans in clusters of minority census tracts but find no evidence of unequal lending patterns when we examine minority census tracts in an aspatial way. Moreover, residents of minority census tracts in segregated metropolitan areas had higher likelihoods of receiving subprime loans than their counterparts in less segregated metropolitan areas. Our findings demonstrate that segregation played a pivotal role in the housing crisis by creating relatively larger areas of concentrated minorities into which subprime loans could be efficiently and effectively channeled. These results are consistent with existing but untested theories on the relationship between segregation and the housing crisis in metropolitan areas.
Gentrification has inspired considerable debate, but direct examination of its uneven evolution across time and space is rare. We address this gap by developing a conceptual framework on the social pathways of gentrification and introducing a method of systematic social observation using Google Street View to detect visible cues of neighborhood change. We argue that a durable racial hierarchy governs residential selection and, in turn, gentrifying neighborhoods. Integrating census data, police records, prior street-level observations, community surveys, proximity to amenities, and city budget data on capital investments, we find that the pace of gentrification in Chicago from 2007 to 2009 was negatively associated with the concentration of blacks and Latinos in neighborhoods that either showed signs of gentrification or were adjacent and still disinvested in 1995. Racial composition has a threshold effect, however, attenuating gentrification when the share of blacks in a neighborhood is greater than 40 percent. Consistent with theories of neighborhood stigma, we also find that collective perceptions of disorder, which are higher in poor minority neighborhoods, deter gentrification, while observed disorder does not. These results help explain the reproduction of neighborhood racial inequality amid urban transformation.
National income inequality is an important indicator of social stratification, the causes of which are little understood. Education is known to be related to income inequality, and presumably prefigures income inequality, but the specific structure of the lag (if any) between education and income inequality has never been studied in detail. We use cross-correlations of education and income inequality data (1960-2000) to investigate the lag structure of the education - income inequality relationship. We find that, in fact, there is no specifically discernible lag period that best fits the data: education in all periods is just about equally correlated with income inequality in all periods. This implies that studies of the effects of education on income inequality will not benefit from lagging the education data, despite good theoretical arguments for doing so.
This study examines trajectories of foreclosed properties in areas severely impacted by the foreclosure crisis and their association with local crime and disorder. Studies have found that property maintenance varies by owner type and that the owner type varies by local neighborhood characteristics. Others have argued that foreclosures, particularly those that are poorly maintained, have negative spillover effects on local neighborhood conditions. To disentangle the process, I match data from Boston, MA for constituent service requests, inspection violations, building permits, 911 calls, and crime reports to foreclosure records from 2006-2011 and subsequent transactions for each foreclosed property in Boston’s hard hit areas. I find that foreclosed properties experience distinct pathways depending on the racial and ethnic composition of the local context, and these pathways have distinct externalities on the local area. The results demonstrate that the foreclosure recovery varies unevenly by neighborhood race and ethnicity, reproducing patterns of neighborhood inequality.