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. (www.segindex.org).
In the News
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.
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.
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.
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.