, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 567–595 | Cite as

Large-Scale Urban Riots and Residential Segregation: A Case Study of the 1960s U.S. Riots



Despite a well-established literature investigating race-related predictors of riot incidence, the racial aftermath of riots remains unexamined. In this study, I use the 1960s U.S. race riots to investigate trends in black residential segregation levels following large-scale riot activity in seven major U.S. cities. I use a novel approach—namely, synthetic control matching—to select a group of cities against which segregation trends can be compared. I find that levels of black segregation rose in 1970 for four of the seven cities, but these increases disappeared in 1980 and 1990 except in Detroit. These results mask differential trends at lower geographic levels: suburban neighborhoods in affected areas experienced larger and longer-term increases in segregation, particularly in traditionally hypersegregated cities in the Midwest and Northeast.


Civil disorder Riot Segregation Racial inequality Synthetic control 



I thank Matthew Andersson, Shai Dromi, Michael Hout, Elizabeth Roberto, Sam Stabler, seminar participants at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, and anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spatial Sciences InstituteUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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