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Spatial Sorting within Cities∗

Working paper #846
Victor Coture, Jessie Handbury

We study changing trends in within-city sorting by education over the last 40 years. We show
that neighborhoods closest to the centers of large U.S. cities rose from having the lowest levels
of college attainment in 1980 to the highest in 2017. We discuss the determinants of changes
in sorting patterns, focusing on the role of transportation technology and income growth. We
outline various consequences of the recent urbanization of college graduates on neighborhood
amenities, house prices, and segregation. We highlight the tendency of college graduates to
cluster into select central neighborhoods, likely limiting opportunities for interactions across
educational lines.

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