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Has Falling Crime Invited Gentrification?

Author

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  • Ingrid Gould Ellen
  • Keren Mertens Horn
  • Davin Reed

Abstract

Over the past two decades, crime has fallen dramatically in cities in the United States. We explore whether, in the face of falling central city crime rates, households with more resources and options were more likely to move into central cities overall and more particularly into low income and/or majority minority central city neighborhoods. We use confidential, geocoded versions of the 1990 and 2000 Decennial Census and the 2010, 2011, and 2012 American Community Survey to track moves to different neighborhoods in 244 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) and their largest central cities. Our dataset includes over four million household moves across the three time periods. We focus on three household types typically considered gentrifiers: high-income, college-educated, and white households. We find that declines in city crime are associated with increases in the probability that highincome and college-educated households choose to move into central city neighborhoods, including low-income and majority minority central city neighborhoods. Moreover, we find little evidence that households with lower incomes and without college degrees are more likely to move to cities when violent crime falls. These results hold during the 1990s as well as the 2000s and for the 100 largest metropolitan areas, where crime declines were greatest. There is weaker evidence that white households are disproportionately drawn to cities as crime falls in the 100 largest metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Ingrid Gould Ellen & Keren Mertens Horn & Davin Reed, 2017. "Has Falling Crime Invited Gentrification?," Working Papers 17-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:17-27
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/wp/2017/CES-WP-17-27.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Skyscrapers, Housing, and Cities: A Q&A Interview with Ingrid Gould Ellen (Part II)
      by Jason Barr in Skynomics Blog on 2019-07-01 11:55:38

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    Cited by:

    1. Disney, Richard & Gathergood, John & Machin, Stephen & Sandi, Matteo, 2020. "Does homeownership reduce crime? A radical housing reform in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108426, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Victor Couture & Jessie Handbury, 2017. "Urban Revival in America, 2000 to 2010," NBER Working Papers 24084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Kristian Behrens & Julien Martin & Florian Mayneris, 2021. "Analyse de la gentrification urbaine dans l'agglomération de Montréal et regard particulier sur les secteurs traversés par la ligne rose," CIRANO Project Reports 2020rp-36, CIRANO.
    4. Behrens, Kristian & Boualam, Brahim & Martin, Julien & Mayneris, Florian, 2018. "Gentrification and pioneer businesses," CEPR Discussion Papers 13296, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Jeffrey Lin, 2017. "Understanding Gentrification’s Causes," Economic Insights, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, vol. 2(3), pages 9-17, July.
    6. Disney, Richard & Gathergood, John & Machin, Stephen & Sandi, Matteo, 2020. "Does homeownership reduce crime? A radical housing reform from the UK," CFS Working Paper Series 651, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    7. Yongsung Lee & Bumsoo Lee & Md Tanvir Hossain Shubho, 2019. "Urban revival by Millennials? Intraurban net migration patterns of young adults, 1980–2010," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 538-566, June.
    8. Gerard Torrats-Espinosa, 2020. "Crime and Inequality in Academic Achievement Across School Districts in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(1), pages 123-145, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; gentrification; neighborhood choice;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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