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The Social and Economic Status of Blacks: Does It Vary by Size of Metropolis?

Publication Abstract

Farley, Reynolds, and Steven Schechterman. "The Social and Economic Status of Blacks: Does It Vary by Size of Metropolis?" PSC Research Report No. 90-187. December 1989.

Ecological theories lead us to hypothesize that the social and economic status of blacks varies by size of place. Data from the March, 1988 Current Population Survey are used to test these hypotheses.

Results suggest that sizeof-place differences in family structure and employment were small for both black and white men and women. Weekly earnings and occupational status were quite strongly and positively related to size of metropolitan areas. However, the status of blacks relative to that of whites did not vary systematically with metropolitan area population size. Given these findings, it appears futile to focus upon population size as a key variable influencing racial differences. There are, however , large between-metropolis differences in the actual and relative status of blacks. For example, the poverty rate for Chicago area blacks is roughly three times that of blacks in Washington, D.C. The challenge, if we wish to understand current racial stra tification, is that of explaining why blacks are much more prosperous in some locations than in others.

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