American Sociological Association

Segregation and Violence Reconsidered: Do Whites Benefit from Residential Segregation?

Despite marked declines in black-white segregation over the past half century, there has been limited scholarly attention to the effects of increasing integration. This is a significant omission given that sociologists have long viewed residential segregation as a fundamental determinant of racial inequality, and extant research has produced inconsistent findings on the consequences of segregation for different racial groups. Using the case of violence, this study leverages a unique combination of race-specific information on homicide, socioeconomic, and demographic characteristics for 103 major metropolitan areas across five decades (1970 to 2010) to examine the criminogenic consequences of segregation for whites and blacks. Three notable findings emerge from our inquiry: (1) racial segregation substantially increases the risk of homicide victimization for blacks while (2) simultaneously decreasing the risk of white homicide victimization. The result of these heterogeneous effects is that (3) segregation plays a central role in driving black-white differences in homicide mortality. These findings suggest the declines in racial segregation since 1970 have substantially attenuated the black-white homicide gap.

Authors

Michael T. Light and Julia T. Thomas

Volume

84

Issue

4

Starting Page

690

Ending Page

725