Economics & Sociology

ISSN: 2071-789X eISSN: 2306-3459 DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X
Index PUBMS: f5512f57-a601-11e7-8f0e-080027f4daa0
Article information
Title: Are we happier among our own race?
Issue: Vol. 12, No 2, 2019
Published date: 06-2019 (print) / 06-2019 (online)
Journal: Economics & Sociology
ISSN: 2071-789X, eISSN: 2306-3459
Authors: Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn
Rutgers University
Keywords: Segregation, race, subjective wellbeing (SWB)
DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X.2019/12-2/1
Index PUBMS: 8c48b65e-ad32-11e9-bbfd-fa163e0fa1a0
Language: English
Pages: 11-35 (25)
JEL classification: I30

We study the effect of residential segregation by race on wellbeing. Wellbeing is measured as self-reported happiness (subjective wellbeing). Segregation is measured at three levels of aggregation. We use the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System containing information about over 125 metropolitan areas and over 125,000 people living there, and measure segregation using exposure/isolation index based on census data at the metropolitan level. The second dataset, 1978-2012 General Social Surveys surveyed respondents about race at the block level. Third dataset, the Quality of American Life surveyed respondents about race at the neighborhood level. There are conflicting theories about the effect of segregation on wellbeing, but we know surprisingly little about the actual net effect. Sociologists tend to assume, without testing, that segregation has a negative effect because it is associated with concentrated poverty, exclusion, lack of opportunity, and crime. The negative effect is argued for minorities, and especially blacks. Our results, however, are consistent across all racial groups. We find that whites, blacks, and Hispanics are happier among their own race than among other races.


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