The Impact of Suburbanization on Racial Segregation at a Metropolitan Scale, 1940-1970



While racial segregation in U.S. cities had reached its peak level by 1940, a new line of separation between whites and blacks emerged as a result of massive suburbanization in the next three decades.  As a result, studies that focused entirely on central cities in this period missed major structural changes in urbanization.  Urban scholars always have to be attentive to the actual scale at which place-based inequality is created and reproduced.  The same kinds of rescaling issues arise in China today, as urban development has become predominantly suburban.  At an even larger scale, the divide within metropolitan areas between local residents and migrants is rooted in a more fundamental regional divide between urban and rural China.  In all societies, conditions beyond the city limits are becoming increasingly crucial for the study of the city.


Dr. Logan completed his PhD in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1974. Before coming to Brown he was Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Administration at the University at Albany, SUNY; Director of the Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research; and Director of the Urban China Research Network. From 2004 through 2016 he served at Brown as Director of the research initiative on Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences. Dr. Logan is co-author, along with Harvey Molotch, of Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place. His most recent edited book, Diversity and Disparities, was published by Russell Sage Foundation in 2015.

His main ongoing research uses contemporary and historical census data to study changes in residential patterns with a particular emphasis on immigrants and racial minorities. One set of studies is taking advantage of recently available 100% census microdata in the period 1880-1940, mapping people’s locations and examining patterns of neighborhood change and racial/ethnic and class segregation. Another set of studies works with the most recent census data.  Logan is collaborating with others on research that has been given access to the confidential census files in Research Data Centers, including a unique file that makes it possible to link records for individuals over time. These data allow him to replicate his historical research in the current period.

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