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Demography. 2002 Nov;39(4):675-96.

Whites who say they'd flee: who are they, and why would they leave?

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  • 1Department of Sociology (m/c 312), University of Illinois at Chicago, 1007 W. Harrison Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA.


Questions have been raised about whether white flight--one factor contributing to U.S. residential segregation--is driven by racial, race-associated, or neutral ethnocentric concerns. I use closed- and open-ended survey data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality to explore who says they would leave and their reasons for doing so. Thirty-eight percent of white respondents said they would leave one of the integrated neighborhoods, with Detroiters and those endorsing negative racial stereotypes especially likely to do so. When asked why they might leave, whites focused on the negative features of integrated neighborhoods. Expressions of racial prejudice were also common, but neutral ethnocentrism rare. The results of an experiment asking about integration with Asians and Latinos are also discussed.

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