Gentrification and female headed households: tenure, migration and occupational characteristics of two neighborhoods in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1970-1980

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to determine if female householders were disproportionately represented among all householders in older, urban neighborhoods, and disproportionately displaced when these neighborhoods underwent gentrification. Two neighborhoods, Oakwood and Boylan Heights, in Raleigh, North Carolina, were acknowledged as having undergone gentrification between 1970 and 1980, and were selected as study neighborhoods for that time period.

Data were collected on the tenure, gender, deaths, and building permit applications for all neighborhood households from 1970 to 1980. Tenure and gender of householders in Raleigh, and occupations of female householders in the neighborhoods, were collected for 1970 and 1980. Data sources were: Polk city directories; county tax, marriage, and death records; city building permits; national decennial census; and the Annual Housing Survey.

The Chi square test was used for testing tenure and gender of householders between neighborhoods and between each neighborhood and Raleigh. Findings indicate that for the study period: Both neighborhoods had significantly higher percentages of female householders in 1970 and 1980 than Raleigh, but their number and percentage decreased while Raleigh's increased; the percentage of female owner-occupants among all owner-occupants declined in all areas; female renter householders with low-status occupations continued moving into the neighborhoods; female householders were not significantly displaced by male householders, and; a majority of renovation was by male owner-occupants in one neighborhood and by absentee landlords in the other neighborhood.