School Closures and the Gentrification of the Black Metropolis


Francis A. Pearman, II


Danielle Marie Greene

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Largely overlooked in the empirical literature on gentrification is the potential impact that school closures play in this process. This study examines whether the weakening of the neighborhood-school connection brought about by school closures affects the likelihood that nearby neighborhoods experience gentrification. Integrating longitudinal data from the U.S. Census with data on every urban school closure that occurred nationwide between 2000 and 2012, this study finds that college-educated White households were far more likely to gentrify Black neighborhoods following the closure of a local school. In particular, school closures increased the likelihood that the most racially segregated Black neighborhoods gentrified by 9 percentage points, a process that corresponded during this period to an average loss in these neighborhoods of roughly 200 Black residents. Results suggest that school closures do not simply alter the educational landscape, school closures are also emblematic of a larger spatial and racial reimagining of U.S. cities that dispossess and displaces communities of color.

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APA Citation

Pearman, F.A., & Greene, D.M. (2021). School Closures and the Gentrification of the Black Metropolis.