Residential Patterns of Black Immigrants and Native-Born Blacks in the United States


  • *Direct correspondence to Melissa Scopilliti, Sociology Department, 2112 Art/Sociology Bldg., University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 〈〉. Authors are unable to share the data used in this analysis due to confidentiality restrictions. Metropolitan-level dissimilarity indexes are available on request for areas that meet the population thresholds used in this analysis. This work was developed under a subcontract with Sabre Systems, Inc. and utilized funds provided by the Census Bureau.


Objective. Although high levels of black-white residential segregation have long been observed, relatively little is known about the residential patterns of black immigrants. This analysis examines the role of nativity and Hispanic ethnicity for the residential patterns of blacks in the United States.

Methods. This article uses data from the 2000 Census to calculate dissimilarity indexes and conduct regression analyses.

Results. We find differences in the extent of segregation of blacks from whites, with Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic black immigrants exhibiting higher levels of segregation from whites than U.S.-born non-Hispanic blacks.

Conclusions. The strength of nativity and socioeconomic status provides some support for spatial assimilation theory. Metropolitan context also plays a role in explaining residential patterns: one reason foreign and Hispanic blacks are very segregated from whites is that they tend to reside in metropolitan areas where black-white segregation has generally been high. Despite the role of these factors, race itself remains of great importance in explaining residential patterns, as segregation from whites is high among all black subgroups.