Who Gentrifies Low-income Neighborhoods?
This paper uses confidential Census data, specifically the 1990 and 2000 Census Long-Form data, to study the demographic processes underlying the gentrification of low income urban neighborhoods during the 1990’s. In contrast to previous studies, the analysis is conducted at the more refined census-tract level with a narrower definition of gentrification and more narrowly defined comparison neighborhoods. The analysis is also richly disaggregated by demographic characteristic, uncovering differential patterns by race, education, age and family structure that would not have emerged in the more aggregate analysis in previous studies. The results provide little evidence of displacement of low-income non-white households in gentrifying neighborhoods. The bulk of the income gains in gentrifying neighborhoods are attributed to white college graduates and black high school graduates. It is the disproportionate in-migration of the former and the disproportionate retention and income gains of the latter that appear to be the main engines of gentrification.
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