Projects in theme: Population Structures In The Urban Environment

Brown v. Board of Education at 50: Desegregation Orders and Public School Integration

Logan in studying trends in school segregation since 1970 shows that the substantial desegregation in the 1970s did not continue after 1980. He is also evaluating the relationship between racial and class segregation and the disproportionate exposure of minority students to subpar schools.

Immigration and Ethnicity


White's longtime research on immigrant adaptation led to the publication (with Jennifer E. Glick) of Achieving Anew: How New Immigrants Do in American Schools, Jobs, and Neighborhoods (Russell Sage Foundation, 2009), which was awarded the 2010 Otis Dudley Duncan (Book) Prize from the Population Section of the American Sociological Association. 

Incorporating Immigrants and Minorities into Late-19th-Century

This project studies racial and ethnic differentiation in U.S. cities in 1880, with a particular emphasis on the relationships between people and places. Using geocoded data from the 1880 Census, Logan was able to measure, for example, the ethnic composition of one’s neighbors at the level of the household and to group proximate households with similar “neighborhoods” into an overall neighborhood.

Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space

In a joint paper with Henderson and a current student, Weil establishes that satellite-based images can be a useful measure of local development, thus making it possible to track growth effects of regional variation in health improvements.

Population Control and Democratic Governance

Henderson, in work with a former student, looks at the issue of spatial exclusionary policies as a mechanism of population control. He argues that the political elite deliberately used the under provision of basic water and sanitation facilities in poor areas to suppress migration. Consistent with this theory, there was an increase in the equality of access to such services in large and wealthy cities following the transition to local democratic governance.

Racial Interactions and Urban Decentralization

In U.S. cities, there are important relationships between segregation and public service delivery. Baum-Snow examines the role of urban school desegregation in determining processes of ethnic groupings. He shows that desegregation, in addition to leading to substantial outmigration from urban districts by whites, tended to reduce outmigration among blacks while also reducing private school enrollment among blacks in the South.  Because of these countervailing forces, school desegregation was not an important driver of urban population decentralization in the United States.

Remaking the Apartheid City

Using GIS techniques, South African Census data and qualitative fieldwork, this project explores the economic and social reconfiguration of the post-apartheid city. The spatial engineering of apartheid resulted in the concentration of public services and infrastructure, such as access to electricity, trash collection, schools, and paved roads in the sections of cities designated as white under the Group Areas Act. Efforts to undo these inequalities have been a focus of all levels of post-apartheid government.

Understanding the City Size Wage Gap

In 2000, hourly wages of prime-age men were 31% higher in metropolitan areas of over 2.5 million people than those of less than 100,000 people. Moreover, the relationship between wages and population monotonically increases by about 1 percentage point for each additional 100,000 in population over the full range of metropolitan area size. The existence of this city-size wage gap implies that workers are more productive in larger cities. Since 1980, a strong positive monotonic relationship between city size and wage inequality has also emerged.

Urban Life among Youth in Kisumu

Eliya Zulu (African Institute for Development Policy), Shelley Clark (McGill University)

This project aims to improve methods of data collection for sexual behavior among young men and women in urban Kisumu, Kenya. Using a life course approach, the project constructs retrospective relationship histories for a random sample of 1,275 youth ages 18-24 and interviews these respondents' marital and nonmarital sexual partners to create a unique matched partner sample. Fieldwork was conducted in spring and summer 2007.

Interview using the Relationship History Calendar.Interview using the Relationship History Calendar.

Urban Studies and Demography of China

In China, controls on movement of people to urban areas have been more explicit, as they were in apartheid South Africa. This control has altered the trajectory of these cities and created an underclass without full access to relevant service. Logan is building on a long history of work examining population distribution and stratification in Chinese cities. His recent work uses both original surveys and Chinese census microdata to evaluate residential restructuring, disparities in access to housing between local urbanites and migrants, and the development of private housing markets.