, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 443–453 | Cite as

Making a place in the metropolis: Locational attainment in cities and suburbs

  • John R. LoganEmail author
  • Richard D. Alba
  • Tom McNulty
  • Brian Fisher
Determinants and Consequences of Migration


What accounts for the differences in the kinds of communities within the metropolis in which members of different racial and ethnic groups live? Do socioeconomic advancement and acculturation provide greater integration with whites or access to more desirable locations for minority-group members? Are these effects the same for Asians or Hispanics as for blacks? Does suburbanization offer a step toward greater equality in the housing market, or do minorities find greater discrimination in the suburban housing market? Data from 1980 for five large metropolitan regions are used to estimate "locational-attainment models, " which evaluate the effects of group members’ individual attributes on two measures of the character of their living environment: the socioeconomic standing (median household income) and racial composition (proportion non-Hispanic white) of the census tract where they reside. Separate models predict these outcomes for whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. Net of the effects of individuals’ background characteristics, whites live in census tracts with the highest average proportion of white residents and the highest median household income. They are followed by Asians and Hispanics, and-at substantially lower levels-blacks. Large overall differences exist between city and suburban locations; yet the gap between whites and others is consistently lower in the suburbs than in the cities of these five metropolitan regions.


Census Tract Metropolitan Region Median Household Income Residential Segregation Assimilation Theory 
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, R.D. and J.R. Logan. 1992. “Analyzing Locational Attainments: Constructing Individual-Level Regression Models Using Aggregate Data.” Sociological Methods and Research 20:367–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. —. 1993. “Minority Proximity to Whites in Suburbs: An Individual-Level Analysis of Segregation.” American Journal of Sociology 98:1388–1427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alba, R.D., J.R. Logan, and P. Bellair. 1994. “Living with Crime: The Implications of Racial and Ethnic Differences in Suburban Location.” Social Forces 73:395–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Choldin, H. and C. Hanson. 1982. “Status Shifts within the City.” American Sociological Review 47: 1133–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Danielson, M. 1976. The Politics of Exclusion. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Denton, N.A. and D.S. Massey. 1989. “Racial Identity among Caribbean Hispanics: The Effect of Double Minority Status on Residential Segregation.” American Sociological Review 54: 790–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Downs, A. 1973. Opening Up the Suburbs: An Urban Strategy for America. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Farley, R. and W. Allen. 1987. The Color Line and the Quality of Life in America. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gordon, M. 1964. Assimilation in American Life. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gross, A. and D.S. Massey. 1991. “Spatial Assimilation Models: A Micro-Macro Comparison.” Social Science Quarterly 72:347–60.Google Scholar
  11. Guest, A. 1973. “Urban Growth and Population Densities.” Demography 10:53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hill, R. 1974. “Separate and Unequal: Governmental Inequality in the Metropolis.” American Political Science Review 68: 1557–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hunter, A. 1974. “Community Change: A Stochastic Analysis of Chicago’s Local Communities.” American Journal of Sociology 79:923–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lieberson, S. and D. Carter. 1982. “Temporal Change and Urban Differences in Residential Segregation: A Reconsideration.” American Journal of Sociology 88:296–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Logan, J.R. and R.D. Alba. 1993. “Locational Returns to Human Capital: Minority Access to Suburban Community Resources.” Demography 30:243–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Logan, J.R. and R.D. Alba. Forthcoming. “Who Lives in Affluent Suburbs? Racial Differences in Eleven Metropolitan Regions.” Sociological Focus.Google Scholar
  17. Logan, J.R., R.D. Alba, and S. Leung. 1996. “Minority Access to White Suburbs: A Multi-Region Comparison.” Social Forces 74:851–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Logan, J.R. and M. Schneider. 1984. “Racial Segregation and Racial Change in American Suburbs: 1970–1980.” American Journal of Sociology 89:874–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Manski, C. 1995. Identification Problems in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Massey, D.S., G. Condran, and N. Denton. 1987. “The Effect of Residential Segregation on Black Social and Economic WellBeing.” Social Forces 66:29–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Massey, D.S. and N. Denton. 1988. “Suburbanization and Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas.” American Journal of Sociology 94:592–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. —. 1993. American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Villemez, W. 1980. “Race, Class and Neighborhood: Differences in the Residential Return on Individual Resources.” Social Forces 59:414–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. White, M. 1987. American Neighborhooods and Residential Differentiation. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  25. Williams, R. 1964. Strangers Next Door: Ethnic Relations in American Communities. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  26. Wilson, W.J. 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. Zhou, M. and J.R. Logan. 1991. “In and Out of Chinatown: Residential Mobility and Segregation of New York City’s Chinese.” Social Forces 70:387–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zorbaugh, H. [1926] 1961. “The Natural Areas of the City.” Pp. 45–49 in Studies in Human Ecology, edited by G. Theodorson. Evanston, IL: Harper and Row.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Logan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard D. Alba
    • 2
  • Tom McNulty
    • 2
  • Brian Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New York at AlbanyAlbany
  2. 2.Department of SociologyState University of New York at AlbanyUSA

Personalised recommendations