Suburbanization and segregation in US metropolitan areas

D. S. Massey, N. A. Denton

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316 Scopus citations


This article examines trends in suburbanization for blacks, Hispanics, and Asians from 1970 to 1980 in 59 US metropolitan areas and considers the effect of suburbanization on segregation at the latter date. Suburbanization is measured as the proportion of each group residing outside the central city but within the SMSA, and segregation is measured with indices of dissimilarity and exposure. Despite recent increases, blacks remain less suburbanized than other minority groups. They are less segregated in suburbs than in central cities, but, even in suburbs, black segregation remains quite high. Hispanics and Asians are considerably more suburbanized than blacks. Their segregation in central cities is generally moderate, and in suburbs it varies from low to moderate. Multivariate models indicate the persistence of barriers to the spatial assimilation of blacks. Given the same objective characteristics and metropolitan context, blacks are much more segregated than Hispanics or Asians. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-626
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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