To investigate racial and ethnic diversity in suburbanization, we draw on two complementary theoretical traditions, which we label “assimilation” and “stratification.” Our analytic model is multilevel, and includes variables characterizing individuals, households, and metropolitan contexts. We use it to analyze the determinants of suburban versus central-city residence for 11 racial/ethnic groups. The analysis reveals that family status, socioeconomic, and assimilation variables influence the suburbanization process rather consistently. We take this finding as evidence in favor of the assimilation model. These effects display group variations, however, in a manner predicted by the stratification model. There are also suburbanization differences among metropolitan areas, particularly related to the relative economic status of cities and their suburbs, and between the northeast/north central regions and the south/west. Finally, we conclude that suburbanization is variable across the groups in a way that is not captured by broad categories such as “Asian” or “Hispanic.”

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