The Dynamics of Residential Segregation in Buffalo: An Agent-Based Simulation

Race and class factors have been studied as underlying causes of segregation for many
years. Individual choices on race and economic constraints of living in one area versus
another play an important role in residential segregation. An attempt has not yet been
made to simulate the interplay of neighborhood racial and economic composition
in forming segregation using empirical micro-level data. Using City of Buffalo data,
this study explores how individuals’ housing location choices with respect to racial
composition and housing sale prices in their neighborhoods can give rise to aggregate
patterns of residential segregation and how segregation at one point in time was
contributing to increased segregation at later stages. The results show that observed
patterns of segregation in the city could plausibly arise from the interaction of racial
and economic factors. This study also demonstrates the application of such models
on exploring the possible effects of proposed integration efforts.