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The National Rise in Residential Segregation

  • Trevon D. Logan (a1) and John M. Parman (a2)


Exploiting complete census manuscript files, we derive a new segregation measure using the racial similarity of next-door neighbors. The fineness of our measure reveals new facts not captured by traditional segregation indices. First, segregation doubled nationally from 1880 to 1940. Second, contrary to prior estimates, Southern urban areas were the most segregated in the country and remained so over time. Third, increasing segregation in the twentieth century was not strictly driven by urbanization, black migration, or white flight: it resulted from increasing racial sorting at the household level. In all areas—North and South, urban and rural—segregation increased dramatically.

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We thank Rodney Andrews, David Blau, Shari Eli, Joe Ferrie, Judge Glock, Daeho Kim, Allison Shertzer, Randall Walsh, Richard Steckel, seminar audiences at Michigan, Occidental, UC-Riverside, UC-Irvine, Yale, American University, Pomona College, UT-Dallas, Virginia Commonwealth University, Dalhousie University, The Ohio State University, ASSA Annual Meetings, and NBER Summer Institute provided welcome suggestions. William D. Biscarri, Nicholas J. Deis, Jackson L. Frazier, Adaeze Okoli, Terry L. Pack, Stephen Prifti and Colin Weinshenker provided excellent research assistance.



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The National Rise in Residential Segregation

  • Trevon D. Logan (a1) and John M. Parman (a2)


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