Gentrification central: A change-based typology of the American urban core, 2000–2015

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Across a broad spectrum of U.S. cities, central urban neighborhoods have undergone significant demographic and socio-economic change over the last few decades, with many having experienced gentrification-induced displacement. Rather than aiming to identify and track neighborhood change across a diverse set of individual neighborhoods, this investigation focuses foremost on unpacking the concept of gentrification. Using a principal component analysis (PCA), I characterize neighborhood change between 2000 and 2015 (2013/17) along four independent dimensions, including a factor to represent the “core” attributes of gentrification and a set of frequently-associated “peripheral” factors that represent neighborhood growth, youthification, and professionalization. The analysis includes the 110 urban cores (UC) (an area defined as those U.S. Census tracts within 3 km of city hall) situated within U.S. metropolitan areas with a population of 500,000 or more as of 2018. Some UCs that experienced relatively high levels of gentrification over the study period also exhibited high levels of growth, youthification, and/or professionalization. Most, however, experienced substantial change along only one or two of the four dimensions. A Local Moran's I test of spatial autocorrelation was employed to evaluate potential regional variations in UC neighborhood change along each of the four dimensions. With the exception of professionalization, the dimensions of neighborhood change exhibited clear regional differentiation with relatively high levels of UC gentrification in the Southeast, and relatively low growth but high levels of youthification in the East.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102206
JournalApplied Geography
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Gentrification
  • Neighborhood change
  • Neighborhood typology
  • Professionalization
  • Urban core
  • Youthification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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