Measures of ordinal segregation


Sean F. Reardon

Year of Publication: 
Research on Economic Inequality

Purpose – To develop measures of segregation that are appropriate when either the groups or the organizational units are defined by ordered categories. These methods allow the measurement of segregation among groups defined by ordered educational attainment categories or among ordered occupational categories, for example.

Approach – I define a set of desirable properties of such measures, develop a general approach to constructing such measures, derive three such measures, and show that these measures satisfy the required properties.

Originality – Traditional methods of measuring segregation focus on the measurement of segregation among groups defined by nominal categorical variables (e.g., race and gender) among organizational units also defined by nominal categorical units (e.g., schools and neighborhoods). Such methods are not appropriate to the measurement of occupational segregation, for example. The methods developed here are widely applicable and appropriate for such cases.

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APA Citation

Reardon, S.F. (2009). Measures of ordinal segregation. Research on Economic Inequality, 17, 129‐155.