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Ethnic residential concentrations with above-average incomes

Are residents of ethnic concentrations necessarily poor? We tested this notion with Census 2000 data for Asian and Latino households in the New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco CMSAs. Ethnic concentrations included all census tracts in which the group comprised over 40 percent of the population. While many residential concentrations had low incomes, 11 percent of concentrated Latinos and 57 percent of concentrated Asians had incomes above their metropolitan medians for all households. Moreover, 18 percent of concentrated Asians lived in tracts with incomes at least 50 percent higher than the metropolitan medians. Higher-income residents within concentrations were more likely to be U.S.-born and proficient in English. Thus, scholars need to revise the widespread view that people living in ethnic concentrations are poor. Many Asians and Latinos who can afford homes in mostly White neighborhoods prefer to live where both Whites and their group are well represented.

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