Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Mary C. Sengstock


This study investigates the extent to which neighborhoods that are both racially and economically diverse, hereafter referred to as dually diverse neighborhoods, exist within the metropolitan landscape of the United States and what factors contribute to the emergence of such neighborhoods. Using the Neighborhood Change Database, this study defines what a diverse neighborhood is and gives a descriptive portrait of the characteristics of these neighborhoods. The entropy index (H) is used as the measure of neighborhood diversity because of its ability to take into account the presence of more than two groups, unlike other more commonly used measures of segregation or diversity. Dually diverse neighborhoods are operationalized as those neighborhoods having an entropy score greater than or equal to 0.69 on the racial measure and an entropy score greater than or equal to 0.87 on the income measure, which corresponds to a neighborhood archetype that is an easily understood, intuitively appealing mixture of both income and racial-ethnic groups. Results indicate that the presence of dually diverse neighborhoods has nearly doubled each decade between 1970 and 2000 and that more than half of dually diverse neighborhoods maintained their integrated status from 1990 to 2000. Regression analyses probing the predictors of dually diverse neighborhoods in metro areas examine whether metropolitan income distributions, metropolitan racial-ethnic diversity, household preferences for neighborhood diversity, immigration and metropolitan growth, housing market characteristics, and public policy interventions are correlated with the incidence of dually diverse neighborhoods in metro areas. Findings suggest that the most important predictor of dually diverse neighborhoods is the incidence of racially diverse neighborhoods in metro areas. The incidence of racially diverse neighborhoods in metro areas is in turn influenced by the presence of recently-arriving immigrants and growing income distribution congruence amongst the four racial-ethnic groups in the study. Implications for public policy are discussed, as well as a discussion of how this work compliments and expands the extant knowledge on diverse neighborhoods.

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