Ann Owens

Ann Owens

Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California
Chapter Member: Los Angeles Unified SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Ann

Owens's research focuses on the causes and consequences of social inequality with a focus on neighborhoods, housing, and schools. Overarching themes in Owens's writings include the relationship between neighborhood and school segregation and the role of housing policy in shaping neighborhoods' and individuals' well-being. Owens co-leads the Segregation Index, a project aimed at generating comprehensive residential and school segregation data. (


In the News

Guest to discuss What Biden's 100 million budget proposal means for school integration on NBC News Now, Ann Owens, July 7, 2021.
Guest to discuss New Tool Helps Researchers Evaluate Segregation in United States Schools on KCBS Radio, Ann Owens, September 15, 2020.
Ann Owens quoted on school integration by Thomas B. Edsall, "Integration vs. White Intransigence" New York Times, July 17, 2019.
Ann Owens quoted by Richard Florida, "How Families With Kids Drive Suburban Segregation" Bloomberg, April 9, 2019.
Ann Owens's research on income segregation patterns across neighborhoods discussed by Emily Badger, "For Kids, Neighborhood (and Its Schools) Make All the Difference, Study Says," Boston Globe, May 11, 2016.
Ann Owens's research on buying real estate in wealthy neighborhoods discussed by Emily Badger, "The One Thing Rich Parents Do for Their Kids That Makes All the Difference," The Washington Post, May 10, 2016.
"Data Show Segregation by Income (Not Race) Is What's Getting Worse in Schools," Ann Owens, The Hechinger Report, U.S. News, May 9, 2016.


"Building Inequality: Housing Segregation and Income Segregation"" Sociological Science 12 (2019): 29–41.

Foregrounds housing in the study of residential segregation. Discusses segregation between single- and multifamily homes and renter- and owner-occupied homes increased in most metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2014. Discovers income segregation is markedly higher when and where housing segregation is greater.

"Income Segregation Between School Districts and Inequality in Students’ Achievement" Sociology of Education 91, no. 1 (2017): 1-27.

Finds that the income achievement gap is larger in highly segregated metropolitan areas. Shows this is due mainly to high-income students performing better, rather than low-income children performing worse, in more-segregated places. Concludes income segregation between districts also contributes to the racial achievement gap, largely because white students perform better in more economically segregated places.

"Housing Policy and Urban Inequality: Did the Transformation of Assisted Housing Reduce Poverty Concentration? " Social Forces 94, no. 1 (2015): 325-348.

Finds that the deconcentration of assisted housing from 1977 to 2008 only modestly reduced poverty concentration in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. Concludes results are driven by the deconcentration of assisted housing after 2000, when policies had a greater focus on dispersal of assisted housing to low-poverty neighborhoods.

"60 Years After Brown: Trends and Consequences of School Segregatio" Annual Review of Sociology 40 (2014): 199-218.

Shows since the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, researchers and policymakers have paid close attention to trends in school segregation. Reviews the evidence regarding trends and consequences of both racial and economic school segregation since Brown.Concludes with a discussion of aspects of school segregation on which further research is needed.

"Neighborhoods on the Rise: A Typology of Neighborhoods Experiencing Socioeconomic Ascent" City & Community 11, no. 4 (2012): 345-369.
Provides an account of the types of neighborhoods in which socioeconomic conditions improved in each decade from 1970 to the late 2000s. Shows that white suburban neighborhoods make up the bulk of neighborhoods experiencing socioeconomic improvements but minority and immigrant neighborhoods became increasingly likely to ascend over time.
"Neighborhoods and Schools as Competing and Reinforcing Contexts for Educational Attainment" Sociology of Education 83, no. 4 (2010): 287-311.
Finds that children from disadvantaged neighborhoods have lower high school and college graduation rates when attending school with more advantaged peers, while children from advantaged neighborhoods receive an additional boost when attending school with more advantaged peers.