Debates over the spread of gentrification have centered on its consequences for residential displacement. Evidence primarily examines whether disadvantaged residents move from gentrifying neighborhoods and has produced mixed conclusions. We argue that where disadvantaged residents move sheds new light on this debate. Drawing on a unique, large-scale consumer credit database of residents in Philadelphia, we examine how the displacement of socioeconomically disadvantaged residents associated with gentrification differs across neighborhoods by race. We further examine whether disadvantaged residents are increasingly more likely to move to a shrinking pool of disadvantaged neighborhoods—a process by which gentrification indirectly displaces disadvantaged residents. The findings address conflicting accounts between qualitative and quantitative evidence on neighborhood change, residential displacement, and gentrification’s disproportionately negative effect on minority neighborhood. We demonstrate how gentrification is a contemporary mechanism exacerbating neighborhood inequality by race and class.
Jackelyn Hwang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Her main research interests are in the fields of urban sociology, race and ethnicity, immigration, and inequality. In particular, her research examines the relationship between how neighborhoods change and the persistence of neighborhood inequality by race and class in US cities. Her current projects focus on the causes and consequences of gentrification and developing automated methods for measuring neighborhood change using Google Street View imagery. She received her B.A.S. in Sociology and Mathematics from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University.