Income segregation in cities: A reflection on the gap between concept and measurement

On a recent commentary on  Jean‑Michel Floch’s article “Standards of living and segregation in twelve French metropolises” I propose that

  • While income segregation and the segregation of poverty are wrongly assumed to be the same in the public debate, the segregation of affluence remains insufficiently debated
  • There is no benchmark for establishing how much segregation is “too much” segregation, especially in large cities in developed countries
  • Although segregation is often related to being far from “where things happen”,
    segregation indicators do not measure the level of physical disconnection between
    income groups, or inequalities in provision between poor and affluent areas

New Working Paper on Income Segregation and Urban Spatial Structure

A working paper co-authored with Miquel Àngel García López entitled “Income Segregation and Urban Spatial Structure: Evidence from Brazil” is now available as part of the CAF Working Paper Series. In this work, we estimate the effect of urban spatial structure on income segregation in using data for 121 Brazilian cities between 2000 and 2010. We show how the effect of local density varies between monocentric and polycentric cities, and between income groups.

This paper is part of a line of research trying to link the distribution of employment within cities with the distribution of the population by income groups, in order to understand the possible causes of residential segregation by level of income in urban areas.