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Inequality and the Relative Size of Minority Populations: A Comparative Analysis

Publication Abstract

Frisbie, W. Parker, and Lisa Neidert. 1977. "Inequality and the Relative Size of Minority Populations: A Comparative Analysis." American Journal of Sociology, 82 1007-1030.

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.

DOI:10.1086/226427 (Full Text)

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