Prismatic Metropolis: Race and Residential Segregation in the City of the Angels
Most major urban areas remain segregated by race, especially in terms of black segregation from whites. We replicate and extend the innovative approach developed by Farley and colleagues for understanding processes of racial residential segregation with data collected in Los Angeles. Using a large multiracial sample of adults, we examine (1) actual and perceived differences in economic status, (2) mutual preference for same race neighbors, and (3) racial prejudice and discrimination as hypotheses for the persistence of residential segregation. With a systematic experimental design we gauge respondent openness to living in areas with varying proportions of black, white, Latino, or Asian neighbors. We find no support for actual or perceived cost of housing as a barrier to integration. Although all groups exhibit some degree of ethnocentric preference for same race neighbors, this tendency is strongest among whites rather than blacks and plays only a small role in perpetuating segregation. Blacks face the greatest hostility in the search for housing and are consensually recognized as most likely to face discrimination in the housing market. Racial minorities are more open to sharing residential space with whites than with other minorities. We find generally higher rates of openness to integration than Farley and colleagues found in their recent Detroit survey.