Background: Despite a powerful civil rights movement and legislation barring discrimination in housing markets, residential neighborhoods remain racially segregated.
Purpose: This study examines the extent to which neighborhoods’ racial composition is inherited across generations and the extent to which high schools’ and colleges’ racial composition mediates this relationship. To understand the underlying social processes responsible for racial segregation, I use the spatial assimilation model, the place stratification model, and perpetuation theory.
Population: Data for this project are from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and the U.S. Census.
Research Design: A longitudinal design tracks the racial composition of the schools, colleges, and neighborhoods from adolescence through age 26.
Findings: Holding constant the percent white in teenagers’ neighborhoods, socioeconomic status, and other variables, the percent white that students experience in high school and college has a lasting influence, affecting the percent white in young adult neighborhoods and explaining 31% of intergenerational continuity of neighborhood racial composition.
Conclusions: The analyses suggest that racial segregation in high schools and colleges reinforces racial segregation in neighborhoods.