Revisiting environmental inequity in Southern California: Does environmental risk increase in ethnically homogeneous or mixed communities?

Yushim Kim, Yongwan Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study revisits the concept of environmental inequity in Southern California using the California Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent data and spatial models. Empirical studies in the late 1990s documented the existence of environmental inequity among disadvantaged populations in the area, and we still found evidence of environmental inequity. However, our findings were more nuanced and subtler than previous results. The risk of being exposed to pollutants (e.g. ozone, PM2.5 and others) increases with a corresponding increase in Hispanic or Asian populations in a census tract. The risk of living near adverse environmental conditions (e.g. hazardous facilities, ground water threats and more) was less clear according to minority status. As the percentage of Hispanics in a census tract increases, the environmental risk increases only to a point, and then decreases. This finding suggests that, at present, some Hispanic communities enjoy better environmental conditions than do ethnically mixed communities, but the risk of being exposed to pollutants still increases with an increase in the percentage of Hispanics in a census tract. If policy needs to be developed and updated accordingly to reflect changing environments, this new evidence directs urban environmental inequity research to pay attention to ethnically mixed communities as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUrban Studies
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • CalEnviroScreen tool
  • environmental inequity
  • spatial regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies

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