Neighborhood Diversity, Neighborhood Affluence: An Analysis of the Neighborhood Destination Choices of Mixed-Race Couples With Children

Abstract

Past research has indicated that mixed-race couples with children appear to possess a heightened preference for neighborhoods that are racially and ethnically diverse and relatively affluent so as to reside in areas that are requisitely accepting of, and safe for, their children. However, neighborhoods with higher racial and ethnic diversity tend to be lower in socioeconomic status, implying that some residentially mobile mixed-race couples with children encounter trade-offs between neighborhood diversity and neighborhood affluence in their residential search processes. To investigate this, we apply discrete-choice models to longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics linked to neighborhood-level data from multiple population censuses to compare the neighborhood choices of mixed-race couples with children to those of monoracial couples with children, while assessing how these choices are simultaneously driven by neighborhood diversity and neighborhood affluence. We observe that mixed-race couples with children tend to be more likely to choose higher-diversity neighborhoods than white couples with children, even when neighborhood affluence is allowed to determine the residential choices for these couples. Some higher-income mixed-race couples with children seemingly translate their resources into neighborhoods that are both diverse and affluent.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A newborn is defined as a child under the age of 1.

  2. 2.

    The PSID defines a long-term cohabiter as someone who is in a relationship with a PSID individual with whom the individual has lived for at least 12 months.

  3. 3.

    Because of the small numbers of same-sex couples in the PSID, we analyze only different-sex couples.

  4. 4.

    We are unable to compare mixed-race couples with children against those without because of the small sample size among some couples without children.

  5. 5.

    We tested the sensitivity of our results with a 10 % and 20 % random sample of nondestination tracts and found largely similar results to those estimated with the 5 % sample.

  6. 6.

    As a measure of diversity, the entropy score indicates the extent to which whites, blacks, Latinos, and others represent equal shares in a tract. A value of 0 signals that one group is present, and a value of 100 designates an even distribution among the four groups.

  7. 7.

    Average family income is missing for 70 origin tracts, 75 destination tracts, and 814 nonchosen tracts in our sample. PSID respondents’ family income is missing for seven couple-periods. Following White et al. (2011), all covariates and outcomes from our analysis are included in the imputation model.

  8. 8.

    The online appendix shows figures of the odds of destination tract choice for couples by entropy score and family income from the coefficients in Model 4 in Tables 3, 4, and 5, respectively.

  9. 9.

    We conducted a supplemental analysis in which we estimated the destination choice of couples who had family incomes below the national average and separately for those who had family incomes at or above the national average. The results from this supplemental investigation were substantively similar to the results reported in the present analysis.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the editors of Demography and anonymous reviewers for their incredibly helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.

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Correspondence to Ryan Gabriel.

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Gabriel, R., Spring, A. Neighborhood Diversity, Neighborhood Affluence: An Analysis of the Neighborhood Destination Choices of Mixed-Race Couples With Children. Demography 56, 1051–1073 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-019-00779-1

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Keywords

  • Mixed-race couples
  • Discrete-choice models
  • Neighborhoods