Racial Segregation in Small Towns: Municipal Underbounding and Racial Exclusion

Daniel T. Lichter, Cornell University
Domenico Parisi, Mississippi State University
Steven M Grice, Mississippi State University
Michael Taquino, Mississippi State University

This paper examines patterns of municipal “underbounding” and racial segregation in nonmetropolitan towns; that is, whether blacks and other racial minorities living in areas adjacent to small municipalities are systematically excluded from incorporation. Annexation – or the lack of annexation – can be a political tool used by municipal leaders to exclude disadvantaged or low-income populations, including minorities, from voting in local elections and from receiving access to public utilities and other community services. Our goals in this paper are: (1) to document the racial composition of the population annexed (and not annexed) in small towns over the 1990 to 2000 period; and (2) to identify various local demographic (e.g., racial composition), economic (e.g., family income), and legal factors associated with racial underbounding and racial exclusion. To accomplish our objectives, we use Tiger files, GIS, and other geographically-disaggregated data from the Summary Files of the 1990 and 2000 decennial censuses.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 155: The Spatial Scale of Residential Segregation