Saturday, 8 October 2016

Residential Segregation: How it Impacts Access to Critical Services and Relation to Health Inequality

Market and economic evolution have led to income inequality. Income inequality has in turn spurred residential segregation. The upsurge in residential segregation has affected families, especially by impacting their access to critical services. Nonetheless, mixed-income neighborhoods still exist, but they are also under pressure. However, how do low-income and middle-income families living in mixed-income neighborhoods fare as compared to their counterparts who live in segregated neighborhoods? Additionally, how is residential segregation related to health inequalities? Studies have been conducted on these topics, and three of them are analyzed below.
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Studies
            Elena Vesselinov, Mary Clare Lennon and Renaud Le Goix published their study on the benefits of living in mixed-income neighborhood under the title Is it all in the eye of the beholder? Mixed-income neighborhoods’ advantage in the context of mortgage foreclosures. The authors framed the study as an analysis of mixed-income neighborhoods. After an introduction, a literature review is done on the existing empirical literature on the formulaic mixed-income neighborhoods that developed during the public housing redevelopment and the benefits that low-income families accrued from living in such mixed-income neighborhoods as well as the attendant social dynamics at play in the daily life of these mixed-income neighborhoods. Nonetheless, there is a disconnect between the empirical question of the study and the study frame, as the empirical question focused on foreclosures and sub-prime lending but the literature review only marginally touched on issues related to foreclosures and sub-prime lending. Even so, it is clear that the authors do use that empirical question to probe into the benefits offered by mixed-income neighborhoods in related to segregated neighborhoods in terms of housing stability and risk of foreclosures. The study used two approaches; entropy typology and high-end typology. The methodology used in the study was the framing of a hypothesis which was to be tested using existing models as well as statistical analysis of the data collected. The study used a set of valid theories to create discrete measurement criteria and thus its results are reliable and valid. The statistical procedure used to analyze the data is congruent with the purpose of the research. Thus, the methodological and statistical procedures utilized are the main strength of the paper. Nonetheless, the conclusion is shorter than expected for a generalized study of the paper. It would have been better if the authors noted in their conclusion that more case studies need to be done on the study topic since the paper analyzed the issue in a generalized manner.  The interdisciplinary approach used in the paper combined sociological concepts with economic models. The conclusion of the paper was that mixed-income neighborhoods have better outcomes than low-income and middle-income neighborhoods during times of foreclosure crisis; and it can thus be deduced that mixed-income neighborhoods offer better housing stability to low-income families as compared to low-income and middle-income neighborhoods (Vesselinov, Lennon & Le Goix, 2011). The intervention strategy that can be derived from the study is that low-income and middle-income families should be encouraged to live in mixed-neighborhoods.
            In 2011, US2010 Project published a report entitled Growth in the Residential Segregation of Families by Income, 1970-2009.The report focuses on the decline of the prevalence of mixed-income neighborhoods in metropolitan areas, as well as an upsurge in residential isolation which has led to an increase in residential segregation. The report also analyzes the racial aspects of residential segregation. Additionally, the report examines the impact of the upsurge in residential segregation on service delivery as well as quality of life. The two authors framed the study as an analysis of residential segregation. The questions addressed by the authors are trends in income disparity, residential segregation and the decline of mixed-income neighborhoods. The report derives its data from US Census Data and information provided by the American Community Survey. Additionally, a literature review was done using empirical literature, some of which were published in peer-reviewed journals such as Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Economic Growth, Sociological Methodology; and American Sociological Review. The literature review focused on income segregation and its relationship with residential segregation. The methodology used was to collect the relevant data then categorize them before data processing was done. The data analysis was done and the refined data was presented in various formats including bar charts and line graphs. The statistical procedure used to analyze the data is congruent with the purpose of the research. The report used valid theories to create discrete measurement criteria and thus its results are reliable and valid. Thus, the methodological and statistical procedures utilized are the main strength of the paper. The interdisciplinary approach used in the paper combined sociological concepts with economic models. The report concluded that income segregation has corresponding increase in residential segregation and a corresponding decline in mixed-income neighborhoods, with residential segregation being most prevalent in Afro-American and Hispanic neighborhoods. Moreover, prioritization of service delivery has favored high-income neighborhoods (Reardon & Bischoff, 2011). Thus, it can be deduced from the report that income segregation has led to high-income families receiving better services as compared to low-income and middle-income families. The intervention strategy that can be derived from the report is that service delivery should be improved in low-income and middle-income neighborhoods.
            Residential segregation does influence health inequalities. In a study published under the title Mapping the determinants of health inequalities in social space: can Bourdieu help us?; the relationship between residential segregation and health inequalities is analyzed. The three authors framed the study as an analysis of residential segregation and its impact on health outcomes. The questions addressed by the authors were the existence and nature of relationship between residential segregation and health inequalities. The study derives its data from census data. Additionally, a literature review was done using empirical literature, some of which were published in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Public Health Medicine, Social Science and Medicine, and Theory and Society. The literature review focused on income, residential segregation and its relationship to health inequalities. The methodology used was to collect the relevant data then categorize them before data processing was done. The data analysis was done using correspondence analysis and regression analysis. The refined data was presented in two formats; tabulations and scatter diagrams. The statistical procedure used to analyze the data is congruent with the purpose of the research. The study used valid theories to create discrete measurement criteria and its results are therefore reliable and valid. Thus, the methodological and statistical procedures utilized are the main strength of the paper. The interdisciplinary approach used in the paper combined sociological concepts with economic models. The report concluded that residential segregation has a direct relationship with health inequalities with low-income neighborhoods having access to poorer quality of health services as comparad to high-income neighborhoods, hence the health inequalities (Gatrell, Popay & Thomas, 2004). The intervention strategy that can be derived from the study is that the quality of health-care services should be improved in low-income and middle-income neighborhoods.
Conclusion
            Income inequality has led to residential segregation. The upsurge in residential segregation has squeezed out mixed-income neighborhoods. Nonetheless, low-income and middle-income families living in mixed-income neighborhoods fare better as compared to those which live in segregated neighborhoods. Additionally, residential segregation has led to health inequalities due to skewed service delivery. Hence, there is need to improve the quality of service delivery offered to low-income and middle-income neighborhoods.
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References
Gatrell, A. C., Popay, J., & Thomas, C. (2004). Mapping the determinants of health inequalities in
            social space: can Bourdieu help us?. Health & place, 10(3), 245-257.
Reardon, S. F., & Bischoff, K. (2011). Growth in the residential segregation of families by income,
            1970-2009. US 2010 Project.
Vesselinov, E., Lennon, M.C., & Le Goix, R. (2011). Is it all in the eye of the beholder? Mixed-
            income neighborhoods’ advantage in the context of mortgage foreclosures.

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