Research Methods

Gentrification has been studied both quantitatively and qualitatively. The study, “Job Location, Neighborhood Change, and Gentrification,” examined data to determine whether changes in neighborhood employment measured by average job pay affect residential identities, measured by average household income. Data was analyzed to identify changes in employment location and composition, summarized using average job pay, and how this affects the average neighborhood income. The study used an equation to measure if increases of high-income workers lead to a change in commuting costs or preferences over leisure time and other forms of consumption that would indicate gentrification.  A study from the United States Census Bureau and New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, “How Low Income Neighborhoods Change: Entry, Exit, and Enhancement,” examines patterns of change in metropolitan low-income neighborhoods in the 1990s to evaluate evidence of displacement, sources of neighborhood income change and changes associated with gains in average neighborhood income. Income changes at the household level were analyzed using data from the American Housing Survey, data from the 1990 and 2000 Census, and the Urban Institute’s Neighborhood Change Database. The study “Who Gentrifies Low-Income Neighborhoods?” uses the 1990 and 2000 Census Long Form data to study demographic processes in neighborhoods that gentrified during the 1990s. This analysis used highly refined census data, with a more specific definition of gentrification and closely matched comparison neighborhoods. The study also identified long-term residents and new comers. These examples of quantitative research provide data that can empirically prove the changes that gentrification has on a neighborhood. The study “The Politics of Revitalization in Gentrifying Neighborhoods The Case of Boston’s South End” is a more qualitative approach to studying gentrification that discusses how change was enacted in Boston’s South End and the tensions that developed between the old and new residents. “Two Cheers for Gentrification” is a study that examines the benefits of gentrification by considering specific concerns with gentrification and the extent that the researcher believes they are accurate.


This chart shows the differences in income between residents in a  gentrified neighborhood in New York. This shows the discrepancies in income that occurs, which often creates tension in the community between the current and future residents.


This map of Cincinnati shows how trends in house values have changed over time due to gentrification. An increase in housing values is a useful method of studying gentrification trends. Gentrification leads to an economic shift, where property values, taxes and rents increase. These trends can force original residents out of their homes in order to create more upscale, expensive living and businesses for new residents.

Quantitative measures provide impartial measures that provide facts about the characteristics and effects of gentrification. Providing numerical support about the effects of gentrification helps support beliefs about the benefits and costs. However, quantitative data may omit important, but immeasurable concepts. This is why qualitative data is necessary. Qualitative data is a contextual approach that assesses abstract and immeasurable concepts. Qualitative data however is subject, so it is open to multiple interpretations, which may be both a drawback and a positive. If I were to complete a more in-depth research project on this topic, I would use both qualitative and quantitative methods to find a more comprehensive understanding of gentrification. In my project, I would examine demographic data such as Demographic Characteristics of the Labor Force, Consumer Spending and Time Use (“Overview of BLS Demographic Data” 12 16, 2013). I would interview original residents to hear about their perspective on the changings occurring the neighborhood, if and how it was effecting them personally and if they agreed or disagreed with the changes happening. I would interview new residents who are contributing to gentrification and their perspective on the changes in the neighborhood, about the types of changes they have witnessed and what else they think should or should not change. I would also include visual data, such as the map and graph above. I believe these are useful ways of displaying information, that can show the types of changes and effects that gentrification causes.   Gentrification is a complex topic that encompasses many different aspects of change, so this method of quantitative and qualitative research would be the best way to understand its effects. 

1. Auger , Deborah . ” The Politics of Revitalization in Gentrifying Neighborhoods The Case of Boston’s South End.” Journal of the American Planning Association. no. 4 (1979): 525-522.

2. Ellen, Ingrid Gould and O’Regan, Katherine M., “How Low Income Neighborhoods Change: Entry, Exit and Enhancement.” (September 1, 2010). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP- 10-19.

3. Kolko, Jed. “Job Location, Neighborhood Change, and Gentrification.” Public Policy Institute of California. (2009): 1-30.

4. Bureau of Labor Statistics , “Overview of BLS Demographic Data.” Last modified 12 16, 2013. Accessed February 26, 2014

5. Byrne, J. Peter. “Two Cheers for Gentrification.” Howard Law Journal . (2003): 405-432.


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