Does Suburban Residence Mean Better Neighborhood Conditions for All Households? Assessing the Influence of Nativity Status and Race/Ethnicity

Samantha Friedman, George Washington University
Emily Rosenbaum, Fordham University

Suburban residence is considered symbolic of the American dream. Despite growth in suburban minority and immigrant populations, the question of whether access to high quality residential environments is available to all households has gone largely unexplored. This paper helps fill this gap by evaluating nativity-status and racial/ethnic differences in a range of neighborhood conditions for both suburban and central city residents. A key question asked is whether disparities in neighborhood conditions among suburban residents are similar to those in the central city, or whether immigrant and minority suburban residents live in neighborhoods similar to those of their native-born and white counterparts, as predicted by spatial assimilation theory. Among the conditions examined are indicators of physical disorder and undesirable land uses, measures rarely examined in studies of locational attainment. The study relies on data from the 2001 panel of the American Housing Survey (AHS), the first to include nativity status.

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Presented in Session 43: Race, Assimilation, and Housing