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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Black and White Commuting Behavior in a Large Segregated City: Evidence from Atlanta


Previous research has shown that households are sensitive to commuting distance. In particular, households beyond a threshold distance move closer to the job when they change residence. The questions which motivate this paper are – how does race affect the probability of moving closer to the job when households change residence, and is there a trade off between commuting distance and neighborhood composition? Using a specialized data set the research shows that the commuting behaviors of minority and white households are consistent with the overall hypothesis that households minimize their commuting distance whenever possible. The research also shows that there is a tendency for both white and black households to choose slightly more integrated settings after changing residences. Yet, black households have to juggle the trade-off between neighborhoods with high socio-economic status and commute distance and those who choose higher socio-economic status neighborhoods have longer commutes.

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