Speaker: Ian Kennedy
Abstract: Housing dynamics in the United States have historically been racialized through explicitly discriminatory laws like redlining, which created connections between neighborhood quality and racial composition. The perpetuation of racialized housing dynamics, like segregation and gentrification suggests that neighborhood race is still entwined with perceptions of neighborhood quality. This study investigates whether the connection between neighborhood race and perceived quality persists in present day rental advertisements. Using data from the online rental platform Craigslist spanning 16 U.S. metropolitan areas I apply computational text analysis and statistical methods to tease out racialized aspects of neighborhood descriptions appearing in rental advertisements. The results show that contemporary descriptions of neighborhoods online reflect the legacy of more traditional forms of neighborhood racialization. Advertisements tend to describe White neighborhoods more positively than other neighborhoods. For instance, majority Black tracts with a median household income of $150,000 are described about as favorably as majority White tracts with one sixth the median income. These findings have implications for understanding the perceptual nature of the reproduction of racialized housing dynamics.
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