Segregation and Scale: The Use and Interpretation of Spatial Segregation Profiles for Investigating the Causes, Patterns, and Consequences of Residential Segregation

Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University
Stephen Matthews, Pennsylvania State University
David O'Sullivan, University of Auckland
Glenn Firebaugh, Pennsylvania State University
Chad R. Farrell, University of Alaska at Anchorage

In this paper, we address an aspect of segregation research which has been largely ignored in prior study—the issue of scale in understanding segregation causes, patterns, and consequences. Because the causes and consequences of segregation may depend on its scale (local segregation will affect pedestrian contact patterns; macro scale segregation may affect the spatial distribution of institutional resources), the study of segregation requires scale-sensitive measures. The paper includes three sections: First, a brief discussion of the theoretical importance of considering scale in investigating segregation; second, a description of a new approach to computing 'segregation profiles' that indicate the level of segregation at different spatial scales; and third, a discussion of how these profiles are to be interpreted. In this third section, we illustrate the discussion with a set of maps and figures to ground the interpretation of the profiles.

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Presented in Session 68: Race and Ethnic Inequality