Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Nancy A. Denton
Residential segregation most often refers to the separation of people into different neighborhoods based on their race and/or ethnicity, though neighborhood-level segregation can be computed using other characteristics of people, households, or neighborhoods, for example, social class, single-parent families, or home ownership. The association between the term residential segregation and race/ethnicity reflects the fact that segregation by race/ethnicity is far higher than segregation by other characteristics. Segregation is a social problem because where people live determines other aspects of their lives: what schools their children attend, access to transportation, availability of municipal services, job opportunities, and so on. Since residential segregation is based on neighborhoods, it is important to understand how neighborhood is defined. Neighborhoods are usually approximated by census tracts, non-overlapping areas that cover an entire city or metropolitan area and contain approximately 4,000 persons. With the exception of subdivisions to accommodate population growth, tracts have the advantage In ...