2018 National Planning Conference

Poster: School Attendance Zones vs. Socioeconomic Disparity

Sunday, April 22, 2018 from 2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. CDT

Cost: Included in Registration

Activity Type: Posters

Activity ID: NPC187096


  • School attendance zone/district boundaries could artificially reinforce or exaggerate socioeconomic disparities by including or excluding areas of certain housing types or densities
  • Use spatial auto-correlation to measure disparities between adjacent geographic features (in this case, school attendance zones)
  • Use the Polsby-Popper ratio (a common measure for assessing gerrymandering) for measuring zone/district compactness


This study demonstrates spatial analysis techniques to investigate whether school attendance zones in Gwinnett County, Georgia, might be exaggerating socioeconomic disparities. Are school zone boundaries gerrymandered to include/exclude certain areas based on housing type or density? To assess this, the study first utilized a compactness ratio typically used with political districts. Then school zones were mapped by measures of residential density, poverty, and race, and the study described the degree of disparity in these measures between adjacent zones. Findings generally suggested that Gwinnett school zones merely reflect underlying demographic and housing patterns, rather than exaggerating disparities.

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Session Speakers

Matthew Leonard
Atlanta, GA

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