A geospatial analysis of racial segregation in North Carolina's major metropolitan areas

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David Davis Morse (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Zhi-Jun Liu

Abstract: The majority of studies on the measurement of racial segregation have focused on the use of measures which do not consider the role of scale. These measures implicitly define the social environment as equivalent to some organizational or spatial unit such as a census tract, without regard for the patterning of these units in social space. Methodological issues arise when using these conventional "aspatial" measures including the checkerboard problem and the modifiable areal unit problem. The purpose of this research is to analyze the role scale plays in the measurement of segregation. The spatial measures analyzed in this study address these issues by using individual level data and by defining the units of analysis independent from the areal unit boundaries the census provides (e.g. census tract, blockgroup, block). In some metropolitan areas, racial groups are segregated over large regions, with predominantly white regions and predominantly black regions, whereas in other areas, the separation of racial groups occurs over much shorter distances. This research analyzes an approach offering a scale sensitive alternative to the standard methodological practice for describing segregation. The Entropy Index along with the segregation profile and the macro/micro segregation ratio are implemented here as a spatial measure of segregation. Using this spatial measure, five of the most populous counties in North Carolina are examined to see at what scale segregation is occurring within them. It is concluded that segregation is occurring over a large scale in all five N.C. counties. Visible differences in the spatial patterning of the pairwise Black/Other and Hispanic/Other Entropy values are observed. The assumption of segregation as a non-increasing function of scale holds true and segregation values decrease as the scale of analysis is increased in all five counties. It is concluded that the spatial measure used here adequately addresses the methodological issues of the aspaial measures and that it also provides a more adequate measure of the scale at which segregation is occurring.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Aspatial measures, Checkerboard problem, Modifiable areal unit problem, North Carolina, Segregation, Spatial measures
North Carolina $x Population $x Statistics
Housing $z North Carolina $v Statistics
Discrimination in housing $z North Carolina
Human geography $x Social aspects $z North Carolina
Geographic information systems $z North Carolina

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