Racial Residential Segregation in Urban America



There are numerous causes and consequences of racial residential segregation in American metropolitan areas, and a long-standing literature is filled with debates about them. We provide an overview of the trends and patterns regarding racial residential segregation, focusing primarily on blacks and whites. We pay special attention to the competing arguments about race and class in the context of residential stratification. We then discuss the many causes of residential segregation, and its social and economic consequences. After the overview, we identify key gaps in the literature. We discuss three broad substantive areas of research that expand the study of racial residential segregation: (i) the everyday experiences of race, class, and gender disadvantage as they are related to segregation; (ii) contemporary immigration streams and their impact on black-white residential dynamics; and (iii) the power of political-economic forces to transform residentially segregated spaces, with a particular emphasis on processes related to gentrification and home mortgage lending.