American Sociological Association

Status Aversion, Attraction and Discrepancy as Drivers of Neighborhood Selection

Neighborhood income segregation is a widespread phenomenon. We explore its origins by modeling neighborhood selection by native Norwegian households making inter‐neighborhood moves, distinguishing influences of shares of three income groups and the discrepancy between the individual household's income and neighborhood median. We conduct a conditional logit analysis employing 2013–2014 population register data from the Oslo, Norway, metropolitan area. We find that status composition (shares of low‐ and high‐income households) and status discrepancy (difference between individual household's and neighborhood median disposable incomes) critically shapes neighborhood selection, though heterogeneously across income groups. All income groups sort into neighborhoods that have more of their own status group in residence. Middle‐ or high‐income households avoid neighborhoods with above‐average shares of low‐status households and median incomes that are higher than their own. High‐income households are more attracted to a place the greater the superiority of their incomes compared to the neighborhood median. Our findings suggest that although the drivers of residential income segregation are powerful, public policies aimed at neighborhood diversification have potential efficacy nevertheless.


George Galster and Lena Magnusson Turner





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