Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2002


Housing patterns


Housing patterns in the United States have changed over time. During the first part of the nation’s development, many inhabitants lived in small, close knit, rural communities. With the boom of the Industrial Revolution, many rural inhabitants flocked to the cities in hope of finding better jobs and opportunities. Cities also grew in large part due to the influx of immigrants from European and later Asian countries in search of a better life in the United States. During the later part of the twentieth century factors such as crime, overcrowding, and technology made it desirable and possible for many to leave the cities and move towards a safer living situation in the form of suburban neighborhoods.

The form and creation of suburban neighborhoods is an interesting phenomenon in the United States. These neighborhoods are preferred in many ways due to their promise of a safe environment, better schools, superior amenities, and as the ideal environment to raise children. In contrast to living in a city, suburban life focuses around single-family homes that are surrounded by parks, schools, and recreational options. Cities are characterized as being densely populated, surrounded by industries and business workers, traffic, and crime. The differences between the two environments make suburbs the preferred environment for many. While the movement of individuals and families over the past few decades’ focuses on the movement from cities to suburbs we have ignored that the movement is not equally spread across all racial and ethnic groups. The stratification of racial groups over housing attainment and housing location has implications concerning the education, income, and job outcomes of each racial group.

Past research has repeatedly confirmed that African Americans are less likely to own a home compared to their European American counterparts, even after considering group differences in resources, family structure, and location (Crowder and South 1999; Flippen 2001; 132; Flippen 2001; Krivo 1998) It has also been shown that African Americans are more likely to move from suburbs to cities while European Americans are more likely to make the move from the cities to the suburbs (Crowder and South 1997: 529). This reversal of movement is an interesting phenomenon concerning the mobility between racial groups.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Housing--policy--United States; Housing policy--Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Low-income housing--United States; Low-income housing--Washington (State)--Whatcom County

Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Habitat for Humanity, inc.; Kulshan Community Land Trust

Geographic Coverage

United States; Whatcom County (Wash.)


student projects; term papers




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