White flight and spatial assimilation in newly multiracial suburbs
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As U.S. metropolitan areas and “white suburbs” transition towards a multiracial demographic structure, the significance of race to residential location must be re-examined to understand the prospects of racial residential integration. Gwinnett County, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb facing this demographic change, serves as a case study to scrutinize its recent racial diversification’s effects, including the possibility of simultaneous segregation and integration between whites and non-whites. The findings indicate that this trend is occurring: While whites’ responses to rapid racial diversification translate into white flight and greater segregation from non-whites, racial minorities are moving into once nearly all-white areas in accordance with the spatial assimilation model and thereby contributing to greater overall integration. Despite some optimism for integration, this study stresses the continuing salience of race and the need to explore the increasingly complex relationship between race and residential location and possible theoretical implications arising in the multiracial context.