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 the process. This study begins to fill this gap by integrating longitudinal data on all metropolitan neighborhoods in the United States from the Neighborhood Change Database with data on the universe of school closures from the National Center for Educational Statistics. This study found that the effects of school closures on patterns of gentrification were concentrated amongst Black neighborhoods. School closures increased the probability that the most segregated Black neighborhoods experienced gentrification by 8 percentage points and increased the extent to which these neighborhoods experienced gentrification by 0.21 standard deviations. No evidence was found that school closures increased the likelihood or extent that White or Latinx neighborhoods experienced gentrification. Substantive conclusions were consistent across multiple measures of gentrification, alternative model specifications, a variety of sample restrictions, and were robust to a series of falsification tests. 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 dispossesses and displaces Black neighborhoods.

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APA Citation

Pearman, F.A., & Greene, D.M. (2022). School Closures and the Gentrification of the Black Metropolis.