Abstract

The objective of this paper is to provide, for the first time, comparative estimates of racial residential segregation of blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan places in 1990 and 2000. Analyses are based on block data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. decennial censuses. The results reveal a singularly important and perhaps surprising central conclusion: levels and trends in recent patterns of racial segregation in America’s small towns are remarkably similar to patterns observed in larger metropolitan cities. Like their big-city counterparts, nonmetropolitan blacks are America’s most highly segregated racial minority—roughly 30% to 40% higher than the indices observed for Hispanics and Native Americans. Finally, baseline ecological models of spatial patterns of rural segregation reveal estimates that largely support the conclusions reached in previous metropolitan studies. Racial residential segregation in rural places increases with growing minority percentage shares and is typically lower in “new” places (as measured by growth in the housing stock), while racially selective annexation and the implied “racial threat” at the periphery exacerbate racial segregation in rural places. Our study reinforces the need to broaden the spatial scale of segregation beyond its traditional focus on metropolitan cities or suburban places, especially as America’s population shifts down the urban hierarchy into exurban places and small towns.

This content is only available as a PDF.

References

Aiken, C.S. (
1985
).
New Settlement Patterns of Rural Blacks in the American South
.
Geographical Review
,
75
,
383
404
. 10.2307/214408
Aiken, C.S. (
1987
).
Race as a Factor in Municipal Underbounding
.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
,
77
,
564
79
. 10.1111/j.1467-8306.1987.tb00181.x
Alba, R.D., Logan, J.R., & Stults, B.J. (
2000
).
How Segregated are Middle-Class African Americans
.
Social Problems
,
47
,
543
58
. 10.1525/sp.2000.47.4.03x0307u
Alba, R.D., Logan, J.R., Stults, B.J., Marzan, G., & Zhang, W.Q. (
1999
).
Immigrant Groups in the Suburbs: A Reexamination of Suburbanization and Spatial Assimilation
.
American Sociological Review
,
64
,
446
60
. 10.2307/2657495
Brown, D.L., & Swanson, L. (
2004
).
Challenges for Rural America in the 21st Century
.
University Park, PA
:
Penn State University Press
.
Brown, L.A., & Chung, S.Y. (
2006
).
Spatial Segregation, Segregation Indices and the Geographical Perspective
.
Population, Space, and Place
,
12
,
125
43
. 10.1002/psp.403
Carter, J.S., Steelman, L.C., Mulkey, L.M., & Borch, C. (
2005
).
Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Effects of Urban and Regional Residence on Principle and Implementation Measures of Racial Tolerance
.
Social Science Research
,
34
,
408
25
. 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2004.04.004
Charles, C.Z. (
2003
).
The Dynamics of Racial Residential Segregation
.
Annual Review of Sociology
,
29
,
167
207
. 10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100002
Clark, W.A.V. (
2006
).
Race, Class, and Space: Outcomes of Suburban Access for Asians and Hispanics
.
Urban Geography
,
27
,
489
506
. 10.2747/0272-3638.27.6.489
Cromartie, J.B., & Beale, C.L. (
1996
).
Increasing Black-White Separation in the Plantation South
. In Swanson, L.L. (Ed.),
Racial/Ethnic Minorities in Rural Areas: Progress and Stagnation, 1980–90
(pp.
54
64
).
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
.
Crowley, M., Lichter, D.T., & Qian, Z. (
2006
).
Beyond Gateway Cities: Economic Restructuring and Poverty Among Mexican Immigrant Families and Children
.
Family Relations
,
55
,
345
60
. 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00407.x
Duncan, C.M. (
1999
).
Worlds Apart: Why Poverty Persists in Rural America
.
New Haven, CT
:
Yale University Press
.
Durand, J., Massey, D.S., & Capoferro, C. (
2005
).
The New Geography of Mexican Immigration
. In Zúñiga, V., & Hernández-León, R. (Eds.),
New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States
(pp.
1
20
).
New York
:
Russell Sage Foundation
.
Measuring Rurality: 1989 County Typology Codes
. (
2006
).
Washington, DC
:
United States Department of Agriculture
.
Farley, R., & Frey, W.H. (
1994
).
Changes in the Segregation of Whites From Blacks During the 1980s: Small Steps Toward a More Integrated Society
.
American Sociological Review
,
59
,
23
45
. 10.2307/2096131
Fischer, C.S., Stockmayer, G., Stiles, J., & Hout, M. (
2004
).
Distinguishing the Geographic Levels and Social Dimensions of U.S. Metropolitan Segregation
.
Demography
,
41
,
37
59
. 10.1353/dem.2004.0002
Fischer, M. (
2003
).
The Relative Importance of Income and Race in Determining Residential Outcomes in U.S. Urban Areas, 1970–2000
.
Urban Affairs Review
,
38
,
669
96
. 10.1177/1078087403038005003
Fong, E., & Shibuya, K. (
2005
).
Multiethnic Cities in North America
.
Annual Review of Sociology
,
31
,
285
304
. 10.1146/annurev.soc.31.041304.122246
Griffith, D.C. (
2005
).
Rural Industry and Mexican Immigration and Settlement in North Carolina
. In Zúñiga, V., & Hernández-León, R. (Eds.),
New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States
(pp.
50
75
).
New York
:
Russell Sage Foundation
.
Hwang, S.S., & Murdock, S.H. (
1983
).
Segregation in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Texas in 1980
.
Rural Sociology
,
48
,
607
23
.
Iceland, J., Sharpe, C., & Steinmetz, E. (
2005
).
Class Differences in African American Residential Patterns in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: 1990–2000
.
Social Science Research
,
34
,
252
66
. 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2004.02.001
Iceland, J., Weinberg, D.H., & Steinmetz, E. (
2002
).
Racial and Ethnic Residential Segregation in the United States: 1980–2000
.
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Government Printing Office
.
Iceland, J.C., & Wilkes, R. (
2006
).
Does Socioeconomic Status Matter? Race, Class, and Residential Segregation
.
Social Problems
,
53
,
248
73
. 10.1525/sp.2006.53.2.248
Johnson, J.H., Parnell, A., Joyner, M., Christman, C.J., & Marsh, B. (
2004
).
Racial Apartheid in a Small North Carolina Town
.
Review of Black Political Economy
,
31
,
89
107
. 10.1007/s12114-004-1012-4
Kandel, W., & Cromartie, J. (
2004
).
New Patterns of Hispanic Settlement in Rural America
.
Washington, DC
:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
.
Kandel, W., & Parrado, E. (
2005
).
Restructuring of the U.S. Meat Processing Industry and New Hispanic Migrant Destinations
.
Population and Development Review
,
31
,
447
71
. 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2005.00079.x
Lichter, D.T. (
1985
).
Racial Concentration and Segregation Across U.S. Counties, 1950–1980
.
Demography
,
22
,
603
609
. 10.2307/2061590
Lichter, D.T., Fuguitt, G.V., & Heaton, T.B. (
1985
).
Racial Differences in Nonmetropolitan Population Deconcentration
.
Social Forces
,
64
,
487
98
. 10.2307/2578652
Lichter, D.T., & Heaton, T.B. (
1986
).
Black Concentration and Change in the Nonmetropolitan South
.
Rural Sociology
,
51
,
343
53
.
Lichter, D.T., & Johnson, K.M. (
2006
).
Emerging Rural Settlement Patterns and the Geographic Redistribution of America’s New Immigrants
.
Rural Sociology
,
71
,
109
31
. 10.1526/003601106777789828
Lichter, D.T., & Johnson, K.M. (
2007
).
The Changing Spatial Concentration of America’s Rural Poor Population
.
Rural Sociology
,
72
,
331
58
. 10.1526/003601107781799290
Lichter, D.T., Parisi, D., Grice, S.M., & Taquino, M. (
2007
).
Municipal Underbounding: Annexation and Racial Exclusion in Small Southern Towns
.
Rural Sociology
,
72
,
47
68
. 10.1526/003601107781147437
Loewen, J.W. (
2005
).
Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism
.
New York
:
The New Press
.
Logan, J.R., Stults, B.J., & Farley, R. (
2004
).
Segregation of Minorities in the Metropolis: Two Decades of Change
.
Demography
,
41
,
1
22
. 10.1353/dem.2004.0007
Massey, D.S., & Denton, N.A. (
1989
).
Hypersegregation in United States Metropolitan Areas: Black and Hispanic Segregation Along 5 Dimensions
.
Demography
,
26
,
373
91
. 10.2307/2061599
Murdock, S.H., Hwang, S.S., & Hoque, M.N. (
1994
).
Nonmetropolitan Residential Segregation Revised
.
Rural Sociology
,
59
,
236
54
. 10.1111/j.1549-0831.1994.tb00531.x
Parisi, D., McLaughlin, D.K., Grice, S.M., & Taquino, M. (
2006
).
Exiting TANF: Individual and Local Factors and Their Differential Influence Across Racial Groups
.
Social Science Quarterly
,
87
,
76
90
. 10.1111/j.0038-4941.2006.00369.x
Reardon, S.F., S.A. Matthews, D. O’Sullivan, B.A. Lee, G. Firebaugh, and C.R. Farrell. 2006. “The Segregation Profile: Investigating How Metropolitan Racial Segregation Varies by Spatial Scale.” Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Population Association of America, Los Angeles, March 30–April 1.
Reardon, S.F., & O’Sullivan, D. (
2004
).
Measures of Spatial Segregation
.
Sociological Methodology
,
34
,
121
62
. 10.1111/j.0081-1750.2004.00150.x
Saenz, R., & Torres, C.C. (
2004
).
Latinos in Rural America
. In Brown, D.L., & Swanson, L.E. (Eds.),
Challenges to Rural America in the Twenty-First Century
(pp.
57
72
).
University Park, PA
:
Penn State University Press
.
Slack, T., & Jensen, L. (
2002
).
Race, Ethnicity, and Underemployment in Nonmetropolitan America: A 30-Year Profile
.
Rural Sociology
,
67
,
208
33
. 10.1111/j.1549-0831.2002.tb00101.x
Snipp, C.M. (
1996
).
Understanding Race and Ethnicity in Rural America
.
Rural Sociology
,
61
,
125
42
. 10.1111/j.1549-0831.1996.tb00613.x
South, S.J., Crowder, K., & Chavez, E. (
2005
).
Geographic Mobility and Spatial Assimilation Among U.S. Latino Immigrants
.
International Migration Review
,
39
,
577
607
. 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2005.tb00281.x
Tuch, S.A. (
1987
).
Urbanism, Region, and Tolerance Revisited: The Case of Racial Prejudice
.
American Sociological Review
,
52
,
504
10
. 10.2307/2095295
U.S. Census Bureau. 2007. “Appendix A. Census 2000 Geographic Terms and Concepts.” Available online at http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/glossry2.pdf
U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2006. “Racial and Ethnic Diversity Increases in Rural America.” Available online at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/RaceAndEthnic/
Wahl, A.G., R.S. Breckenridge, and S.E. Gunkel. Forthcoming. “Latinos, Residential Segregation and Spatial Assimilation in Micropolitan Areas: Exploring the American Dilemma on a New Frontier.” Social Science Research.
Waters, M.C., & Jiménez, T.R. (
2005
).
Assessing Immigrant Assimilation: New Empirical and Theoretical Challenge
.
Annual Review of Sociology
,
31
,
105
25
. 10.1146/annurev.soc.29.010202.100026
White, M.J., & Sassler, S. (
2000
).
Judging Not Only by Color: Ethnicity, Nativity, and Neighborhood Attainment
.
Social Science Quarterly
,
81
,
997
1013
.
Wilkes, R., & Iceland, J. (
2004
).
Hypersegregation in the Twenty-First Century
.
Demography
,
41
,
23
36
. 10.1353/dem.2004.0009
Wong, D.W.S. (
2004
).
Comparing Traditional and Spatial Segregation Measures: A Spatial Scale Perspective
.
Urban Geography
,
25
,
66
82
. 10.2747/0272-3638.25.1.66
Zúñiga, V., & Hernández-León, R. (
2005
).
New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States
.
New York
:
Russell Sage Foundation
.