First Advisor

Lee J. Haggerty

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Metropolitan areas -- United States, Residential mobility -- United States, Housing -- United States, Upper class -- United States, Population



Physical Description

1 online resource (84 p.)


In this thesis we examine the effect which the obsolescence of central city housing exerts on the decentralization within urban areas of high status residents. In particular, we investigate whether housing obsolescence is a useful addition to a model which explains the decentralization of high status residents in terms of the intensity of competition for central city land.

All of our data are official Census figures for 1970. The subjects of our study are Standard Metropolitan Statistical (SMSA.'s) whose central city had a population of 100,000 or more. From this group we delete the New York and Chicago Consolidated Areas because of their great size and the number of municipalities included within their borders. For each SMSA we compute the percentage of its families and unrelated individuals who had an income of greater than $25,000 and who lived in the central city. We then statistically control for variation across SMSA.'s in the decentralization of population and employment. The decentralization of population is measured by the percentage of the SMSA population which resided within the central city. The decentralization of employment is measured by the percentage of SMSA jobs which were located within the central city.

Once we have controlled the decentralization of the well-to-do for the decentralization of population and the decentralization of employment, we regress it on population density, housing obsolescence, and city age. Population density is persons per square mile in the central city. Housing obsolescence is the percentage of the central city housing structures which were twenty years old or older. City age is the number of decades since the central city attained a population of 50,000.

In our study we demonstrate that population density exerts a considerably stronger effect on the decentralization of the well-to-do than is exerted by housing obsolescence. We also demonstrate that most of city age's effect on the decentralization of the well-to-do can be explained by city age's effect on population density and housing obsolescence.


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