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Suburban sprawl, urban decline and racial/ethnic segregation: shifting dimensions of inequality in a metropolitan area in the United States

Michael P. Sacks, Trinity College

Hartford, Connecticut has an overwhelmingly minority population, deep poverty and sharply declining population. It is at the center of a wealthy, largely white metro area. The extreme city/suburb contrast makes the metro area particularly valuable for studying the radiating impact of an atrophying central city. Based on data from the US censuses of 1980, 1990 and 2000, the changing geography of poverty and ethnic group segregation are traced. Racial/ethnic and socio-economic divisions that had long existed between city and suburb are increasingly reflected in differences among suburbs. Exiting from larger and poorer towns where Hispanic growth was most concentrated, baby boom parents and their children fostered most of the 1990-2000 expansion of wealthy suburbs. As the baby boom cohort ages, they will leave a gap that subsequent cohorts cannot fill. Poverty is sprawling outward. Areas of low Hispanic suburban poverty show economic decline as the flow of Hispanics rises.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Poster Session 5