, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 431–453 | Cite as

Variations on two themes: Racial and ethnic patterns in the attainment of suburban residence

  • Richard D. Alba
  • John R. Logan
Ethnicity and Race


To investigate racial and ethnic diversity in suburbanization, we draw on two complementary theoretical traditions, which we label “assimilation” and “stratification.” Our analytic model is multilevel, and includes variables characterizing individuals, households, and metropolitan contexts. We use it to analyze the determinants of suburban versus central-city residence for 11 racial/ethnic groups. The analysis reveals that family status, socioeconomic, and assimilation variables influence the suburbanization process rather consistently. We take this finding as evidence in favor of the assimilation model. These effects display group variations, however, in a manner predicted by the stratification model. There are also suburbanization differences among metropolitan areas, particularly related to the relative economic status of cities and their suburbs, and between the northeast/north central regions and the south/west. Finally, we conclude that suburbanization is variable across the groups in a way that is not captured by broad categories such as “Asian” or “Hispanic.”


Metropolitan Area Central City Stratification Model Assimilation Model Assimilation Variable 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alba, Richard. 1987. “Interpreting the Parameters of Log-Linear Models.” Sociological Methods & Research 16: 45–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bean, Frank and Marta Tienda. 1987. The Hispanic Population of the United States. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Berk, Richard. 1983. “An Introduction to Sample Selection Bias.” American Sociological Review 48: 386–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blalock, Hubert. 1967. Toward a Theory of Minority-Group Relations. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Bureau of the Census. 1973. Characteristics of the Population. Part 1, United States Summary, Section 1. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  6. —. 1983. General Social and Economic Characteristics. United States Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  7. Downs, Anthony. 1973. Opening Up the Suburbs: An Urban Strategy for America. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Farley, Reynolds. 1970. “The Changing Distribution of Negroes within Metropolitan Areas: The Emergence of Black Suburbs.” American Journal of Sociology 75: 512–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farley, Reynolds, Howard Schuman, Suzanne Bianchi, Diane Colasanto, and Shirley Hatchett. 1978. “Chocolate City, Vanilla Suburbs: Will the Trend toward Racially Separate Communities Continue?” Social Science Research 7: 319–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Foley, Donald. 1973. “Institutional and Contextual Factors Affecting the Housing Choices of Minority Residents.” Pp. 85–147 in Segregation in Residential Areas, edited by Amos Hawley and Vincent Rock. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  11. Frey, William and Alden Speare. 1988. Regional and Metropolitan Growth and Decline in the United States. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Guest, Avery. 1978. “The Changing Racial Composition of Suburbs, 1950–1970.” Urban Affairs Quarterly 14: 195–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. —. 1980. “The Suburbanization of Ethnic Groups.” Sociology and Social Research 64: 497–513.Google Scholar
  14. Guest, Avery and G. Nelson. 1978. “Central City/Suburban Status Differences: Fifty Years of Change.” Sociological Quarterly 19: 7–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guest, Avery and James Weed. 1976. “Ethnic Residential Segregation: Patterns of Change.” American Journal of Sociology 81: 1088–1111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jasso, Guillermina and Mark Rosenzweig. 1990. The New Chosen People: Immigrants in the United States. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Lieberson, Stanley. 1963. Ethnic Patterns in American Cities. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  18. —. 1980. A Piece of the Pie: Blacks and White Immigrants since 1880. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  19. Light, Ivan and Edna Bonacich. 1988. Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Koreans in Los Angeles, 1965–1982. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  20. Logan, John. 1978. “Growth, Politics, and the Stratification of Places.” American Journal of Sociology 84: 404–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Logan, John and Mark Schneider. 1982. “Governmental Organization and City-Suburb Income Inequality, 1960–1970.” Urban Affairs Quarterly 17: 303–18.Google Scholar
  22. —. 1984. “Racial Segregation and Racial Change in American Suburbs, 1970–1980.” American Journal of Sociology 89: 874–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Logan, John and Linda Brewster Steams. 1981. “Suburban Racial Segregation as a Non-Ecological Process.” Social Forces 60: 61–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Massey, Douglas. 1985. “Ethnic Residential Segregation: A Theoretical Synthesis and Empirical Review.” Sociology and Social Research 69: 315–50.Google Scholar
  25. Massey, Douglas and Brooks Bitterman. 1985. “Explaining the Paradox of Puerto Rican Segregation.” Social Forces 64: 306–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Massey, Douglas and Nancy Denton. 1985. “Spatial Assimilation as a Sociological Outcome.” American Sociological Review 50: 94–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. —. 1987. “Trends in the Residential Segregation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians: 1970-1980.” American Sociological Review 52: 802–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. —. 1988. “Suburbanization and Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas.” American Journal of Sociology 94: 592–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Massey, Douglas and Brendan Mullen. 1984. “Processes of Hispanic and Black Spatial Assimilation.” American Journal of Sociology 89: 836–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Molotch, Harvey. 1972. Managed Integration: Dilemmas of Doing Good in the City. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  31. Park, Robert, Ernest Burgess, and R. D. McKenzie. 1925. The City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  32. Portes, Alejandro and Robert Bach. 1985. Latin Journey: Cuban and Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  33. Portes, Alejandro and Ruben Rumbaut. 1990. Immigrant America: A Portrait. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  34. Portes, Alejandro and Cynthia Truelove. 1987. “Making Sense of Diversity: Recent Research on Hispanic Minorities in the United States.” Annual Review of Sociology 13: 359–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Powers, Mary. 1968. “Class, Ethnicity, and Residence in Metropolitan America.” Demography 5: 443–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schneider, Mark and John Logan. 1982. “Suburban Racial Segregation and Black Access to Local Public Resources.” Social Science Quarterly 63: 762–70.Google Scholar
  37. Schnore, Leo. 1972. Class and Race in Cities and Suburbs. Chicago: Markham.Google Scholar
  38. Schnore, Leo and Hal Winsborough. 1972. “Functional Classification and the Residential Location of Social Classes.” Pp. 124–51 in City Classification Handbook: Methods and Application, edited by Brian Berry. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  39. Stearns, Linda and John Logan. 1986. “The Racial Structuring of the Housing Market and Segregation in Suburban Areas.” Social Forces 65: 28–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Taeuber, Karl and Alma Taeuber. 1965. Negroes in Cities: Residential Segregation and Neighborhood Change. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  41. Waldinger, Roger. 1990. “Immigration and Urban Change.” Annual Review of Sociology.Google Scholar
  42. Williams, Robin. 1947. The Reduction of Intergroup Tensions. New York: Social Science Research Council.Google Scholar
  43. Wilson, William J. 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  44. Wirth, Louis. 1928. The Ghetto. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  45. Yinger, John, George Galster, Barton Smith, and Frederick Eggers. 1978. The Status of Research into Racial Discrimination and Segregation in American Housing Markets. Washington, DC: Department of Housing and Urban Development.Google Scholar
  46. Zimmer, Basil. 1975. “The Urban Centrifugal Drift.” Pp. 23–91 in Metropolitan America in Contemporary Perspective, edited by Amos Hawley and Vincent Rock. New York: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard D. Alba
    • 1
  • John R. Logan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New York at AlbanyAlbany

Personalised recommendations