A Long Way From Home? Race, Community, Educational Opportunity, And Residential Choice

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Journal Of Black Studies


For several decades, in response to the severe conditions found in low-income urban areas, educational opportunity programs have offered high-achieving students scholarships and placement in predominantly White college preparatory schools in affluent areas. Those who complete their studies most often go to elite colleges and universities, earn advanced degrees, and enjoy the privileged status of educated professionals. Much research has been done on the restricted residential mobility of low-income urban residents and the possibility, or relative lack thereof, of out-migration from neighborhoods with the fewest resources. And while scholars differ on whether out-migration has in fact been achieved by more advantaged residents, they agree that the desire and efforts to do so, particularly among the middle class, are evident. These studies suggest then that given the opportunity, those with the resources and opportunity will choose to live elsewhere. Data presented here offer a more complex picture of residential choice, the way in which the newly middle class born in low-income urban areas conceptualize community, and how and why some of those most poised to permanently out-migrate might make the choice to return to their former neighborhoods or ones that are similarly situated.

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