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Determinants of Neighborhood Satisfaction: A Metropolitan-Level Analysis

Barrett A. Lee and Avery M. Guest
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Spring, 1983), pp. 287-303
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4106234
Page Count: 17
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Determinants of Neighborhood Satisfaction: A Metropolitan-Level Analysis
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Abstract

Students of neighborhood satisfaction have traditionally regarded the individual as the appropriate unit of analysis. In this present paper we break with tradition, proposing that satisfaction can also be viewed as a property of populations. Data from the 1974-76 U.S. Annual Housing Surveys are employed to test three alternative explanations of variation in aggregate levels of satisfaction across 60 metropolitan areas. Consistent with the urban-scale hypothesis, a negative relationship is found between metropolitan population size and the percentage of residents who rate their neighborhoods "excellent." Further analysis reveals that variables representing the compositional and quality-of-life perspectives affect satisfaction in the expected directions as well: the more residents who are incentive- or resource-deficient and the more residents who perceive local conditions as problems, the lower the level of neighborhood satisfaction tends to be. In terms of relative explanatory power, the quality-of-life variables appear dominant, although the persistent effects of the urban-scale measure may prove of greatest theoretical interest.

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