Publication Date



Upjohn Institute working paper ; 21-355




Since 1970, the share of Black individuals living in suburbs of large cities has risen from 16 to 36 percent. This shift is as large as the post-World War II wave of the Great Migration. We first show that Black suburbanization has led to major changes in neighborhoods, accounting for a large share of recent increases in both the average Black individual’s neighborhood quality and within-Black income segregation. We then show that changes in relative suburban amenities and housing prices explain about 60 and 30 percent, respectively, of Black suburbanization, while regional reallocation, changing educational attainment, and gentrification play only minor roles.

Issue Date

November 2021, Revised July 2022, Revised January 2023, Revised August 2023


Upjohn project #69115
Previously issued under the title Black Suburbanization and the Evolution of Spatial Inequality Since 1970

Subject Areas

Regional collaboration; Urban issues; Transportation and infrastructure


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Bartik, Alexander W. and Evan Mast. 2023. "Black Suburbanization: Causes and Consequences of a Transformation of American Cities." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 21-355. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.