Racial and socioeconomic stratification have long governed patterns of residential sorting in the American metropolis. However, recent expansions of school choice policies that allow parents to select schools outside their neighborhood raise questions as to whether this weakening of the neighborhood–school connection might influence the residential decisions of higher-socioeconomic-status white households looking to relocate to central city neighborhoods. This study examines whether and the extent to which expanded school choice facilitates the gentrification of disinvested, racially segregated urban communities. Drawing data from the Decennial Census, the American Community Survey, the National Center for Educational Statistics, and the Schools and Staffing Survey, this study finds evidence that college-educated white households are far more likely to gentrify communities of color when school choice options expand. In particular, the expansion of school choice increases the likelihood of gentrification by up to 22 percentage points in the most racially isolated neighborhoods of color—more than twice the baseline likelihood for such communities.
School choice, gentrification, and the variable significance of racial stratification in urban neighborhoods
Year of Publication:2017
Publication:Sociology of Education
(2017). School choice, gentrification, and the variable significance of racial stratification in urban neighborhoods. Sociology of Education, 90(3), 213-235.