Muslim–Non-Muslim Locational Attainment in Philadelphia: A New Fault Line in Residential Inequality?

Abstract

This study examines Muslim–non-Muslim disparities in locational attainment. We pool data from the 2004, 2006, and 2008 waves of the Public Health Management Corporation’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Survey. These data contain respondents’ religious identities and are geocoded at the census-tract level, allowing us to merge American Community Survey data and examine neighborhood-level outcomes to gauge respondents’ locational attainment. Net of controls, our multivariate analyses reveal that among blacks and nonblacks, Muslims live in neighborhoods that have significantly lower shares of whites and greater representations of blacks. Among blacks, Muslims are significantly less likely than non-Muslims to reside in suburbs. The Muslim disadvantages for blacks and nonblacks in neighborhood poverty and neighborhood median income, however, become insignificant. Our results provide support for the tenets of the spatial assimilation and place stratification models and suggest that Muslim–non-Muslim disparities in locational attainment define a new fault line in residential stratification.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Pew Research Center (2015:46–49) used a multistep process of identifying Muslims through a combination of self-reported data on religious affiliation, census data on place of birth for foreign-born individuals, and data on religious composition by country.

  2. 2.

    To create an indicator of whether the respondent identifies as a Muslim, we use the PHMC survey question, “What is your religious affiliation?”

  3. 3.

    Similar to other research on locational attainment, we include only measures gauging the percentages non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black in the neighborhood, which gauge each end of the racial and ethnic hierarchy in residential attainment (e.g., Alba and Logan 1993; Logan et al. 1996; South et al. 2011).

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Acknowledgments

Support for this research was provided by a grant to the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University at Albany from NICHD (R24 HD044943). We thank Emily Rosenbaum, Tse-Chuan Yang, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and Ruby Wang and Hui-Shien Tsao for their programming assistance.

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Correspondence to Samantha Friedman.

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Friedman, S., Yucel, R.M., Wynn, C.E. et al. Muslim–Non-Muslim Locational Attainment in Philadelphia: A New Fault Line in Residential Inequality?. Demography 56, 1327–1348 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-019-00797-z

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Keywords

  • Muslim
  • Locational attainment
  • Residential inequality
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Philadelphia