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Curriculum Vitae

The Influence of Persistent Racial Residential Segregation on Racial Disparities in Health (2010)

Michael D. M. Bader Presented at the RWJF Health & Society Scholars Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C..


Racial residential segregation is a persistent phenomenon that has been shown to be associated with racial disparities in ehalth in most American metropolitan areas, leading some to propose that racial segregation is a “fundamental cause” of racial health disparities in the United States. To date, research has largely focused on the association between health outcomes and existing racial segregation, but in this project I am exploring how the ongoing process of residential sorting – how people of different races and ethnicities end up living in different neighborhoods – contributes to racial disparities in health. This project uses a variety of methods –experimental design, agent-based models, and qualitative interviews – to examine how people are sorted into the neighborhoods in which they live and how that process might disproportionately affect racial minorities. Three specific mechanisms are considered. First, racial/ethnic minorities might be clustered in the unhealthiest neighborhoods because of economic differences between different racial groups. Second, racially/ethnically-biased residential preferences, particularly among whites, depress the quality of predominantly minority neighborhoods by limiting residential demand. Third, past segregation leads residents of different races/ethnicities, again particularly whites, to know less about or hold misperceptions of neighborhoods where they would be in the minority such that they are less likely to consider those neighborhoods.

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