Suburbanization of Poverty and Spatial Mismatch in the Austin Metro Area from 2000 to 2017
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The suburbanization of poverty is a process by which poverty is decentralizing from urban core areas and moving into the urban periphery. Much of the previous research on this topic explores the role that the 2008 financial crisis or housing displacement play in this process. This present study, however, seeks to expand upon this previous research by also applying the spatial mismatch theory to the question of the suburbanization of poverty. The spatial mismatch theory examines the spatial orientation of employment opportunities in urban areas and their proximity to low-income residents. This theory was originally used to examine inner-city poverty that primarily effected nonwhite neighborhoods in the urban core and its relation to white suburbanization or “White-flight”. This study seeks to examine the possible application of the spatial mismatch theory to the suburbanization of poverty. Austin, Texas and its surrounding areas have seen significant demographic changes in the past 20 years. The city itself has seen a massive increase in development and population in the urban core. However, it has also seen a decline in lower-income, non-white populations in its urban core. This present study incorporates data regarding work classification, race, and income at the census tract level in three counties, as well as commute time data to approximate distance from jobs. The results indicate that commute times increased of significantly for low-income, nonwhite, blue-collar workers, while white, higher-income, and white-collar workers in the Austin Metro Area did not see such a significant increase.