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Searching for Equity: An Analysis of Preferences in the Housing Search Process Public Deposited

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  • Persistent racial residential and educational segregation in the United States are major sources of institutional racism and inequality. In this essay I focus on the housing search stage, an intermediary between where people say they want to live and where they ultimately end up living. Past research has explored preferences and even the housing search process but has not yet examined the way public school quality and choice affect the relationship between preferences and actual neighborhood search patterns. To fill this gap, this essay looks at the ways public school quality impacts the realization of racial and ethnic neighborhood preferences. Using a subset of data from the 2004-2005 Chicago Area Study (CAS), Census data and Great Schools, I estimate OLS regressions to analyze how racial neighborhood preferences and public school quality impact where people ultimately decide to search for a house. I find that stated racial neighborhood preferences positively affect actual neighborhood search outcomes, but not perfectly so and that there are important and significant differences in the experiences of respondents of different races.
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