Christopher Wheeler and I prepared a report on Economic Segregation for the 21st Century Cities Initiative at Johns Hopkins University.  


Household income inequality is increasing in the US, both nationally and within metropolitan areas (Owens 2016; Piketty and Saez 2003). Depending on how the housing stock is distributed and how households sort into neighborhoods, metropolitan income inequality translates into unequal neighborhoods. Inequality between neighborhoods causes concentration of poverty and leads to vastly different developmental contexts for children growing up in poor, middle-class, and affluent neighborhoods. This paper examines neighborhood inequality using new measures that highlight the separate contributions of income inequality, on the one hand, and economic segregation on the other. While both matter, we find that economic segregation is the driving force behind the variation between metropolitan areas in the degree of neighborhood inequality and that changes in economic segregation are more important in driving the changes in inequality from one decade to the next. We also examine case studies of metropolitan areas with large and small changes in economic segregation between 1970 and 2010, and examine the role of demographic and housing market changes that underlie these changes.

You can access the full report here: