Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Amy Spring

Second Advisor

Tomeka Davis

Third Advisor

Daniel Immergluck

Fourth Advisor

Katherine Hankins


While school segregation closely maps onto residential segregation, the decline in residential segregation has not led to a similar decline in school segregation. In fact, in recent years school segregation has increased. This led me to ask, what other factors and processes, particularly at the neighborhood level, might impact school enrollment patterns? Using the Social Structural Sorting Perspective (Krysan and Crowder 2017) as a framework, I examine both compositional and contextual effects of neighborhoods on school sorting. My first empirical chapter utilizes nationally representative data from the Neighborhood Change Database (Geolytics) and responses from the NHES survey Parent and Family Involvement (PFI) in Education supplement to analyze whether living in a changing neighborhood predicts a decrease in neighborhood school enrollment. I find that neighborhood stability operationalized as percentage of new residents is positively correlated with enrollment in the local schools. However, change in the racial makeup is negatively correlated with enrollment in the local schools. Next, I utilize data from Atlanta Public Schools and Census tract data to calculate each school’s race enrollment gap, or the difference between the racial makeup of the neighborhood and the racial makeup of the neighborhood school. The gaps were most extreme at the middle school level and for Black students. The school zones with the largest racial enrollment gaps were North Atlanta, Midtown and Jackson. Finally, I conducted a series of interviews (n=19) with parents of K-12 students within the three clusters identified above about their neighborhood and school choice process. Many Atlanta parents expressed a desire for schools that were both diverse and of high quality, but nonetheless arrived at different school decisions. The importance of race and class identity in the development of these choices and the spatial clustering of choice types is discussed.


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