Redrawing Spatial Color Lines: Hispanic Metropolitan Dispersal, Segregation, and Economic Opportunity

Mary J. Fischer, University of Connecticut

The geographic dispersion of Hispanics across the United States gained considerable momentum during the 1990s and is reshaping the urban landscape. We trace changes in segregation levels among the top 100 largest metropolitan areas using a typology developed by Suro and Singer (2002), comparing large and small, rapidly growing and stable Hispanic metro areas based on multi-group measures of metropolitan diversity. We find similarities between established Hispanic metros and fast growing Hispanic metros in their higher levels of diversity, linguistic isolation, isolation of the foreign born, and overall isolation of Hispanic residents. New destinations, on the other hand, tend to have much lower levels of linguistic isolation and overall Hispanic isolation. Finally, we find areas of growing Hispanic concentration have reduced levels of black segregation and greater overall residential contact between groups, which lends support to the idea that increasing Hispanic presence is reconfiguring spacial color lines.

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Presented in Session 91: New Patterns of Migrant and Immigrant Settlement