Social Isolation of Disadvantage and Advantage: The Reproduction of Inequality in Urban Space

L. J. Krivo, C. R. Browning, C. A. Calder, M.-P. Kwan, R. D. Peterson & H. M. Washington

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Krivo, L. J. , Browning, C. R. , Calder, C. A. , Kwan, M. , Peterson, R. D. & Washington, H. M. (1). Social Isolation of Disadvantage and Advantage: The Reproduction of Inequality in Urban Space. Social Forces, 92(1), 141–164.

disadvantage , inequality , Los Angeles , Social isolation , social networks

In this article, we extend research on neighborhood social isolation by (1) examining residents of disadvantaged and advantaged communities and (2) considering the character of neighborhoods where people conduct routine activities away from home. We contend that social isolation is experienced by residents of both highly disadvantaged and highly advantaged neighborhoods because the two groups spend time in largely nonoverlapping parts of the city. Individual and neighborhood race-ethnic dynamics exacerbate such social isolation. Data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey show that social isolation is experienced by residents of all areas of the city, whether highly disadvantaged or advantaged. African Americans, Latinos and residents of areas with many Latinos suffer additional penalties in the social isolation of disadvantage in where they conduct routine activities.

Main finding
Social isolation in the city of Los Angeles is reflected through factors such as the economic status and ethnoracial identity of individuals living in the city’s neighborhoods, but social isolation is experienced by all. Individuals, mainly white, who live in highly privileged neighborhoods tend to spend their time conducting routine activities in similarly economically privileged areas. African Americans and Latinos tend to live in more disadvantaged neighborhoods and spend time in less privileged areas more often than whites, even when living in economically similar neighborhoods. Although African American and Latino groups live in the most disadvantaged areas, Latino groups are more likely than African Americans to live in areas with well above-average disadvantages. Immigrants, less educated groups, and those with children typically spend more time in disadvantaged areas than other residents.

Description of method used in the article
Data was collected from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A. FANS) to gather geographic information on residential locations and routine activities of residents. The sample included 3,000 families in 65 randomly selected census tracts. Survey questions asked about child development, stress, well-being, health, and locations that individuals visit routinely. The article also draws on socio-demographic data of 2,000 census tracts. The sample included adults exclusively because they tend to travel more than children and teenagers. One adult from each family was randomly selected for an interview (N= 2,619). The sample only included Latinos, non-Latino whites, African Americans and Asians with complete reported information of activities (N= 2,456).

Of practical use

Organising categories

Gathering/Socializing Walking or Rolling
Physical types
Geographic locations