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Curriculum Vitae

"In Denial about Schools": Diversity and Age-Related Residential Mobility among Middle-Class, White Urban Parents (2011)

Michael D. M. Bader, Annette Lareau and Shani A. Evans Presented at the Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Racial residential and school segregation both reflect a legacy of American racial subjugation; however, their persistence continues to lead to racial disparities in education, health, and employment. Despite the importance of this topic, little research examines how residents go about making decisions that influence this process and that which does tends to focus on only one of residential or school choice. In this paper, we use a mixture of demographic and qualitative approaches to examine the interracial differences in age composition in racially integrated, urban neighborhoods. Our demographic analyses reveal stark interracial differences in age composition that suggest age-dependent mobility among whites in these neighborhoods. In-depth interviews with white, upper middle-class parents in the racially integrated neighborhoods reveal the dramatic influence of racial and economic composition of schools on the formation of residential preferences and intentions to move, despite wanting to cultivate cultural capital in their children through exposure to diverse settings. Writ large, we argue that these patterns lead to ``cycles of denial'' or re-segregation of prestigious elementary schools that do little to promote residential or school integration.