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Working Paper, No. 2016-09, 2016
Accounting for Central Neighborhood Change, 1980-2010 (Revised December 2017)

Central neighborhoods of most U.S. metropolitan areas experienced population decline 1980-2000 and population growth 2000-2010. 1980-2000 departures of residents without a college degree accounted for most of the decline while the return of college educated whites and the stabilization of neighborhood choices by less educated whites drove most of the post-2000 rebound. Increases in amenity valuations after 2000 encouraged college-educated whites to move in and other whites to remain. Continued departures of less than college educated minorities were mainly driven by relative improvements in suburban employment opportunities for this group whose declining amenity valuations of downtown neighborhoods never reversed.

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