2 between gated communities one based on status versus one versus one motivated by concern for security.
The census classifies two types of gated communities: those that are simply walled, and placesthat are walled with access controlled. The census thus provides data on gated communities thathave defensible space (those with walls) and defended space (walls with access controlled entry).The difference is critical in terms of the demographic composition and regional distribution of gated communities.Using data from the American Housing Survey (AHS), this census note looks at who lives ingated communities and where these places are located. We find that:
The major divide in the types of gated communities is based on housing tenure: ownerslive in upscale and mostly white gated communities, while renters occupy more diverseand less affluent places.
Gated communities are more common in the new metropolitan areas of the Sunbelt, suchas Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles.
Affluent African American homeowners are less likely to live in gated communities thantheir white and Hispanic peers. This finding is true even in metropolitan areas with largemiddle class African American populations such as Washington and Atlanta.
The 2001 American Housing Survey added 40 new questions ranging from types of homefinancing, country of origin for household members, and community attributes of the residentiallocation. For the first time, the national sample included questions that help to distinguish gatedcommunities and their residents, two of which are:“Is your community surrounded by walls or fences preventing access by persons other thanresidents?”“Does access to your community require a special entry system such as entry codes, key cards, or security guard approval?”Using responses from these two questions, we examined the characteristics of households thatlive in “walled” or “access controlled” communities. The following summarizes the results of the 2001 AHS national sample, focusing on regional and metropolitan differences, tenure status,race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and household composition relative to walled and accesscontrolled communities. All of the variables analyzed were from the 2001 AHS.
We realize that the two concerns are not mutually exclusive. Upscale gated communities typically sell security, but the walls are often more a marketing tool to signify high status (Blakely and Snyder 1997, Lang and Danielsen1997). Downscale gated communities offer security as a more pragmatic response to high crime in comparable non-gated neighborhoods (Blakely and Snyder 1997).