Are They Better Off? Municipal Annexation and the Socioeconomic Well-Being of a City's Lowest-Income Residents


Large scale municipal annexation is a public policy that has received support from planners and urban political scientists as a tool to both provide revenue elasticity for central cities and opportunity for low-income residents. In this research we superimpose pre-annexation boundaries on the small number of municipalities that experienced large-scale annexation or county-city integration. We then examine the socio-economic conditions of residents who live within the original city limits and compare them to residents of central cities that did not annex aggressively. We will restrict our universe to annexations or integrations that took place after the Second World War. Our research strategy is to first find the beginning of the annexation or integration and then identify a municipality that is a match before annexation takes place. There are three components to the analysis. First, we identify the motivation for the annexation. The we examine the integration of municipal services, especially public safety and schools, and the fiscal condition of the municipality compared to its match. This will be done by examining the Consolidated Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) and school district data. Students, crime, and fiscal outcomes (including bond ratings) will be compared. Third, we examine differences in socio-economic outcomes for people who live inside the original city limits.

Nov 5, 2020