Black's Socioeconomic Status in the South: Does Proportionate Population Size Make a Difference?

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This article examines data from the 1980 census on the education, occupations, and personal income of various groups of Asian Americans in light of general hypotheses derived from assimilation, human capital, and structural theories. The results show that most Asian Americans are better educated than are whites, blacks, and Hispanics. But after other variables are introduced, only Japanese Americans approach income equity with whites. The Chinese, Filipinos, Koreans, and Asian Indians have variable income losses, partly because of the large number of recent immigrants. Although the occupational prestige scores of Asian American men seem to be commensurate with their high levels of education, their incomes do not. Generally, the findings seem to support structural theories, in that the higher educational levels of Asian immigrants--and even of those who were born here--do not necessarily lead to income equity with whites.
Hubert Blalock predicted that the occurrence of lynching in southern communities should be positively related, with increasing slope, to the proportion black of the population, but methodological problems of computing a rate have precluded testing the prediction. A model of random interracial interaction suggests computing the rate with a term containing the proportion black and the proportion white, and— using this rate—Blalock's prediction is upheld for Mississippi counties in the period 1889-1930. The height and shape of the curve relating this rate to percent black varies from state to state, and it is suggested that such variation could be profitably related to variation in historical and governmental properties of the states.
"The Truly Disadvantagedshould spur critical thinking in many quarters about the causes and possible remedies for inner city poverty. As policy makers grapple with the problems of an enlarged underclass they—as well as community leaders and all concerned Americans of all races—would be advised to examine Mr. Wilson's incisive analysis."—Robert Greenstein,New York Times Book Review "'Must reading' for civil-rights leaders, leaders of advocacy organizations for the poor, and for elected officials in our major urban centers."—Bernard C. Watson,Journal of Negro Education "Required reading for anyone, presidential candidate or private citizen, who really wants to address the growing plight of the black urban underclass."—David J. Garrow,Washington Post Book World Selected by the editors of theNew York Times Book Reviewas one of the sixteen best books of 1987. Winner of the 1988 C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
This article examines racial occupational inequality in southern metropolitan areas over the forty-year period beginning in 1940 and ending in 1980. Remarkable stability in inequality between blacks and whites is observed between 1940 and 1970, followed by a substantial decline in inequality between 1970 and 1980. Additionally, the relationship between the relative size of the minority population and racial occupational inequality was observed to be strongly positive and significant in separate analyses for each of the five decades, including 1980, after inequality had declined sharply. Similar results were obtained from a pooled, cross-sectional time-series analysis.
White people's attitudes toward racial desegregation of the public schools are assessed by using items replicated on 22 surveys from 1954 to 1978. Myrdal's statement that racial tolerance reflects adherence to a general principle (equal access to educational opportunity) is compared to Blumer's thesis that racial tolerance varies as a function of the perceived position of groups in a racially stratified system. Depending on the racial mixture implied, whites have different levels of tolerance of school desegregation; but regardless of the racial mix, regional differences in tolerance decrease over time. Where differences in tolerance exist among other demographic subgroups of whites, those differences remain relatively constant.
This study examines the effects of relative group size, group increase and segregation on the earnings of blacks and Asians, using data from the 1980 census. Relative group size and segregation influence the earnings of blacks and Asians, net of human capital, but have different effects on workers from the two groups. The earnings of black workers increase as the relative group size (percent black) expands. But this positive effect diminishes and then becomes negative. Segregation is not significant. The earnings of Asian workers also increase as relative group size (percent Asian) expands. Yet, in contrast to blacks, there is no turning point in the relationship, although the positive effect declines at high levels of percent Asian. Segregation has a similar effect — positive with a declining slope — on the earnings of Asians. Disparities in the effects of group size and segregation suggest that Asians may have greater access to demographic and ecological “recourses” than do blacks.
An ecological analysis of the relationship between a changing urban labor market and the employment status of blacks and nonblacks, both male and female, is presented in this article. The results indicate that the urban black work force is increasingly concentrated in areas with low employment growth, that differences in the level of local labor-market demand are more important than the sectoral composition of that demand for understanding racial differences in employment outcomes, and that educational level is significantly associated with the employment status of nonblacks only. These findings provide a basis for assessing recent versions of the mismatch hypothesis.
The Inequality Process with Coalitions is a stochastic process modelling competition for wealth. The equilibrium distribution of wealth to individuals in coalitions is found by computer simulation. Identifying the minority in the model with blacks, the majority with whites, six statistical features of the size distribution of personal income to blacks and whites in the U.S. are reproduced: 1. the smaller median income of blacks than whites;2. the difference in shapes of the black and white distributions;3. the % black effect, the greater difference between the median incomes of blacks and whites in areas with a larger % black;4. the association by area between a high ratio of median black to median white income with a small Gini concentration ratio of white income;5. the association by area between a high ratio of median black to median white income with high white median income;6. the reduction of associations #4 and #5 with controls for level of development or % black in an area;and, a feature of the behavior of individual people: 7. the greater discriminatory aggressiveness of poor whites to blacks than richer whites.There is no difference between minority and majority people in the Inequality Process with Coalitions other than coalition membership. This paper shows that a model of pervasive competition among people as individuals and coalitions is consistent with empirical size distributions of personal wealth. Competition is milder in industrial societies than preindustrial because a greater proportion of industrial wealth is in a form that cannot be profitably confiscated: human capital. To recreate preindustrial conditions, according to the Inequality Process, is to provide much larger incentives to majorities to victimize minorities. See the “hill of hate”, Figure 2.
Socioeconomic differentials separating whites and blacks have been shown to correlate positively with the percentage of blacks in a population. However, in multiracial or multiethnic populations, it is necessary to take into account the effects of the relative size of each minority present in nonnegligible numbers. In the research reported here, the relationship between socioeconomic inequality and the proportion of Mexican Americans and blacks in the population of metropolitan areas was decomposed through path-analytic techniques. Analysis of model incorporating the impact of the size of both minorities indicates that minority income levels are inversely related to minority size and that disparities between majority and minority income and occupation tend to grow as relative minority size increases. Mexican American occupational levels vary positively with the percentage of blacks, but black occupational status was foud th be virtually unrelated to the proportional representation of Mexican Americans in metropolitan areas. Finally, the positive relationship between minority percentage and inequalities of income and occupation persists net of the effects of a number of plausible alternative explanations.
Major U.S. cities have transformed industrially from centers of goods processing to centers of information processing. Concurrently, the demand for poorly educated labor has declined markedly and the demand for labor with higher education has increased substantially. Urban blacks have been caught in this web of change. Despite improvements in their overall educational attainment, a great majority still have very little schooling and therefore have been unable to gain significant access to new urban growth industries. Underclass blacks, with exceptionally high rates of school dropout, are especially handicapped. Whereas jobs requiring only limited education have been rapidly increasing in the suburbs, poorly educated blacks remain residentially constrained in inner-city housing. Within underclass neighborhoods, few households have private vehicles, which are shown to be increasingly necessary for employment in dispersing metropolitan economies. The implications of interactions among race, space, and urban industrial change are explored. Reasons for the success of recent Asian immigrants in transforming cities are considered, and policies are suggested to rekindle social mobility in the black underclass.
Abstract This paper presents the results of an exploratory study of African Americans and underdevelopment in the Mississippi Delta. The primary focus is on race-specific factors and their associations with social and economic development in the Delta. Data were obtained from The Southern Growth Policy's Southern County-Level Data Files (U.S. Department of Agriculture 1985) and a content analysis of racial conflicts in Mississippi beginning with the 1950s through the 1980s. The results of the analysis show that racial conflicts and a high concentration of poor African Americans are associated with the lack of new technology industries in Mississippi's core Delta counties.
In his influential indictment of the Great Society, Charles Murray focused upon young black males being unemployed as the result of government programs. He is correct in stating that the employment problems of young black males have worsened since 1965 but wrong in asserting that older black males and white males had no employment problems. Labor force participation for all males has dropped since 1965. The employment problems of young black males resulted from sweeping changes in the job market and, secondarily, the revolution in female employment. Blue-collar jobs and full-time jobs are a smaller portion of the job market, while white collar and part-time jobs have increased substantially. Women have obtained a far higher proportion of all jobs than ever before, and sometimes in occupational categories dominated by males. Both the restructured job market and the competition of men and women for jobs, issues ignored by, Murray, raise painful policy dilemmas. To what extent should a politically powerless group like young black males be directly assisted in their employment struggles? To what extent should they be encouraged to migrate or secure further education? To what extent should women's employment be publicly supported through programs such as day care?
This paper analyzes the impact of human capital and labor force variables and macroeconomic growth measures on inequality in the size distribution of earnings for the United States. Our technique utilizes a beta distribution of the second kind to approximate the distribution of earnings. We derive a measure of inequality that depends solely on the parameters of the beta distribution and that links human capital, labor force, and macroeconomic variables to changes in the parameters of the beta distribution. We then relate the changing parameters of the beta distribution to changes in the degree of inequality in the marginal distribution of earnings.
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