Landlords and realtors occasionally are identified as causal agents in the creation or maintenance of segregated neighborhoods. The existence of racial/ethnic separation at local scales, however, is no sure proof of illegal discriminatory acts or intentions by housing market agents. Other factors can and do produce racial/ethnic separation within neighborhoods. Applied demographic analysis can play a part in clarifying what constitutes discrimination and in evaluating the statistical data used to screen for unlawful acts of discrimination within local housing markets. We report a study of tenancy and tenancy turnover in a group of apartment buildings located in a densely settled and ethnically diverse neighborhood in Los Angeles. Turnover in these buildings altered the ethnic mix of tenants, increasing the Asian proportion and decreasing the Hispanic proportion. We trace this change to two market processes that differentiate tenants economically and by differing preferences for luxurious housing: (1) an upgrading of housing stock, which repositioned certain rental units at a higher price point; and (2) the market response to newly-available luxury units. These processes promote ethnically homogeneous apartment-building “neighborhoods” within an otherwise unsegregated ethnically diverse area.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 7, 2008
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