, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 189–213 | Cite as

Pioneers of Gentrification: Transformation in Global Neighborhoods in Urban America in the Late Twentieth Century

  • Jackelyn HwangEmail author


Few studies have considered the role of immigration in the rise of gentrification in the late twentieth century. Analysis of U.S. Census and American Community Survey data over 24 years and field surveys of gentrification in low-income neighborhoods across 23 U.S. cities reveal that most gentrifying neighborhoods were “global” in the 1970s or became so over time. An early presence of Asians was positively associated with gentrification; and an early presence of Hispanics was positively associated with gentrification in neighborhoods with substantial shares of blacks and negatively associated with gentrification in cities with high Hispanic growth, where ethnic enclaves were more likely to form. Low-income, predominantly black neighborhoods and neighborhoods that became Asian and Hispanic destinations remained ungentrified despite the growth of gentrification during the late twentieth century. The findings suggest that the rise of immigration after 1965 brought pioneers to many low-income central-city neighborhoods, spurring gentrification in some neighborhoods and forming ethnic enclaves in others.


Gentrification Immigration Race and ethnicity Multiethnic neighborhoods Enclave 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (Grant No. DGE-1144152), the NSF-IGERT Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy at Harvard University (Grant No. 0333403), and The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. T32HD007163). I wish to thank the Demography Editor and anonymous reviewers, Asad Asad, Monica Bell, Alexandra Killewald, Jennifer Lee, Jeremy Levine, Jim Quane, Robert Sampson, Robert Vargas, Mary Waters, William Julius Wilson, and audiences of various workshops and meetings for helpful comments on previous drafts and presentations of this article. The content in this article is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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