Panel Paper: How Does Gentrification Occur? New Evidence from Cross-Neighborhood Migration

Thursday, November 8, 2018
Coolidge - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Quentin Brummet, NORC at University of Chicago and Davin Reed, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Gentrification has received much attention in recent research, but data limitations have made it difficult to determine how it actually occurs and what it might mean for different types of individuals. We overcome these limitations using new longitudinal Census microdata. We decompose observed increases in neighborhood education levels into the in- and out-migration of more- and less-educated individuals. We find that on average, gentrifying neighborhoods do not experience higher gross out-migration among less-educated individuals. They do experience slightly lower gross in-migration of the less-educated, leading to slightly lower or zero net in-migration. Gentrification is instead driven almost entirely by more-educated migration: more gentrifying neighborhoods experience much higher gross in-migration; slightly higher gross out-migration; and much higher net in-migration among the more-educated. Overall, our results suggest that gentrification is not characterized by the disproportionate out-migration, or displacement, of less-educated individuals. Instead, high cross-neighborhood migration rates among all individuals allow neighborhoods to change quickly as the result of slight changes to the net migration rates of different types of individuals.