Megan Evans

Megan Evans
701 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. M.A. in Sociology and Demography. The Pennsylvania State University, 2019
  2. B.A. in English, Sociology, and Linguistics. Youngstown State University, 2017



2021    Siskar, Thomas, and Megan Evans. “Predicting Mobility: Who is Forced to Move.” City & Community. 20(2): 141-159. DOI: 10.1177/1535684120981010

2020    Evans, Megan and Barrett A. Lee. “Neighborhood Reputations as Symbolic and Stratifying Mechanisms in the Urban Hierarchy.” Sociology Compass. 14(10): 1-15 e12831. DOI:10.1111/soc4.12831

2020    Evans, Megan. “The Unequal Housing and Neighborhood Outcomes of Displaced Movers.” Journal of Urban Affairs. 1-21. DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2020.1730697

2020    Lee, Barrett A., and Megan Evans. “Forced to Move: Patterns and Predictors of Residential Displacement during an Era of Housing Insecurity.” Social Science Research, 87: 102415. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2020.102415

2018    Daw, Jonathan, Alexander Chapman, and Megan Evans. “What Can Sociogenomics Learn from Social by Nature?” Biodemography and Social Biology. 64(3/4): 237-250. DOI: 10.1080/19485565.2019.1597622


My dissertation aims to investigate whether neighborhood reputations, that is, collective perceptions of place, are real rather than epiphenomenal, significantly influencing neighborhood processes beyond the objective characteristics they are said to represent. The first empirical chapter investigates how neighborhood reputations influence where individuals search for housing in racially distinct ways, using a contemporary dataset of homeseekers in Chicago and social network methodology. The second and third chapters investigate how the local elite who were charged with creating the historic redlining maps for the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) balanced information they had on the objective characteristics of a neighborhood with their own racist and classist perceptions of that neighborhood as they permanently marked some neighborhoods for success and others for failure. I use qualitative methods in addition to text analysis and spatial analysis to answer this research question, employing historic HOLC security maps in addition to historic census data and maps of criminal activity.

My research has important implications for broader scholarship on neighborhood effects, residential segregation, stigma, decision-making, and structural racism and inequality. A neighborhood does not have to be disorderly and crime-ridden to have a reputation for disorder and crime. It is when there is misalignment between a neighborhood’s objective reality and the way it is perceived by the wider metropolitan population that the construction of neighborhood reputations becomes a consequential and intriguing object of sociological research. My research points to the ways in which the symbolic character of a place is an important determinant of where individuals decide to search for housing and where the local elite direct resources and opportunities.

Dissertation Chair(s):

Drs. Corina Graif and Stephen A. Matthews

Research Interests:

Urban Sociology, Population Studies, Inequality, Social Network Analysis