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Gentrification and Displacement in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Comparison of Measurement Approaches


Gentrification may play an important role in influencing health outcomes, but few studies have examined these associations. One major barrier to producing empirical evidence to establish this link is that there is little consensus on how to measure gentrification. To address this barrier, we compared three gentrification classification methodologies in relation to their ability to identify neighborhood gentrification in nine San Francisco Bay Area counties: the Freeman method, the Landis method, and the Urban Displacement Project (UDP) Regional Early Warning System. In the 1580 census tracts, 43% of the population had a bachelor's degree or higher. The average median household income was $79,671 in 2013. A comparison of gentrification methodologies revealed that the Landis and Freeman methodologies characterized the vast majority of census tracts as stable, and only 5.2% and 6.1% of tracts as gentrifying. UDP characterized 46.7% of tracts at risk, undergoing, or experiencing advanced stages of gentrification and displacement. There was substantial variation in the geographic location of tracts identified as gentrifying across methods. Given the variation in characterizations of gentrification across measures, studies evaluating associations between gentrification and health should consider using multiple measures of gentrification to examine the robustness of the study findings across measures.

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