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Racial Differences in Perceived Disorder in Three Gentrifying Neighborhoods

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DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2012.23030    3,953 Downloads   6,450 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

To what extent do diverse residents living in the same neighborhood perceive problems? Do they have similar levels of concern regarding drug dealing, graffiti, or litter in the streets? This study uses survey data, probability sampling, and regression analysis to complement qualitative studies that examine perceived disorder in racially diverse, gentrifying neighborhoods. Findings from 571 residents in three neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon reveal that there are substantial racial differences: white residents perceive more disorder—both crimes and incivilities—than do blacks. And, in contrast to what contact theory would suggest, the racial differences are more pronounced among longer tenured residents than newcomers. Social class—at least the dimension measured by ownership status—is also important, with homeowners perceiving more than renters. These findings suggest that neighborhoods, and indeed entire cities, that have racially and socioeconomically diverse residents need to find ways to create stronger social bonds and solve what Sampson (2009) calls the “paradox of diversity meets disorder”.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Sullivan, D. & Bachmeier, J. (2012). Racial Differences in Perceived Disorder in Three Gentrifying Neighborhoods. Advances in Applied Sociology, 2, 229-236. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2012.23030.

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