Disparities in access to opportunities across neighborhoods types: a case study from the Los Angeles region



This study investigates the disparities in access to various types of opportunities in ethnic neighborhoods, as compared to wealthy white neighborhoods (the reference). Focusing on the heterogeneity within ethnic neighborhoods, I distinguish between different types of neighborhoods based on their racial/ethnic makeup and median household income. The Los Angeles region provides an interesting empirical setting because of its racial diversity and its auto-centric spatial structure. The results show that the various types of ethnic neighborhoods differ not only in spatial patterns within the region but also in terms of relative access to opportunities. Nevertheless, I find that all types of the low-income ethnic neighborhoods have higher levels of access to jobs and non-work opportunities, except for access to parks/open spaces, than do the reference neighborhoods. This holds true regardless of accessibility measures and travel modes. However, the relative access to opportunities for middle-to-high-income ethnic neighborhoods varies by accessibility measure. Considering that each accessibility measure has its own set of meanings and planning implications, diverse measures should be taken into account for policy interventions. The present study also adds further evidence of modal disparities, which are much greater than spatial disparities, in access to opportunities.


Accessibility Neighborhood disparities Modal disparities Ethnic neighborhoods Non-work opportunities 



The author would like to thank Dr. Genevieve Giuliano for her constructive feedback and support. Valuable comments from Dr. Marlon Boarnet and Dr. Manuel Pastor are very much appreciated. The author would like to thank Dr. Horner and four anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions. Thanks to the Southern California Association of Governments for sharing data. The author also thanks participants at the 2016 ACSP annual meeting and the 2017 AAG annual meeting for helpful comments. All errors and omissions are the responsibility of the author.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban Studies, Division of Social SciencesYale-NUS CollegeSingaporeSingapore

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