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Abstract: This paper examines the residential location and school choice responses to desegregation of large public school districts. Unique data and variation in the timing of desegregation orders facilitate the analysis. The 16 percent decline in white public enrollment due to desegregation primarily led to migration to suburban districts in the South and increased private enrollment in other regions. Desegregation caused black public enrollment to increase by 20 percent outside the South largely due to population changes. The spatial distributions of responses by race to desegregation orders closely match those predicted by a model of residential location and private school choice.

Keywords: Desegregation, suburbanization

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