Ecological Succession and the Historical Emergence of High-Poverty Neighborhoods: 1970-2000
Robert L. Wagmiller, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY)
Elizabeth A. Gage, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY)
The social ecology of urban poverty has changed dramatically over the last thirty years. In the 1970s and 1980s, poverty became much more concentrated in a growing number of socially-isolated and intensely-disadvantaged inner-city neighborhoods. In the 1990s, concentrated poverty unexpectedly and dramatically declined. This study investigates the effect that racial and ethnic succession had on the growth of high-poverty neighborhoods in the 1970s and 1980s and the decline of high-poverty neighborhoods in the 1990s. Drawing on the human ecology literature, we develop arguments for why racial invasion and succession may have contributed to the dramatic increase in the number of high-poverty neighborhoods in the 1970s and 1980s. We test these hypotheses using longitudinal data drawn from the Neighborhood Change Database on urban neighborhoods from 1970 to 2000. Preliminary results indicate that much, if not all, of the growth in concentrated poverty is attributable to processes of ecological succession.
Presented in Session 149: Segregation