Douglas S. Massey
This article examines how segregation contributes to the perpetuation of disadvantage over time and across generations. It first traces the historical origins of segregation and reviews early substantive and theoretical work done on the subject at the University of Chicago. It then considers the most commonly used measure of segregation as well as the social mechanisms by which residential segregation is produced, with particular emphasis on the paradigmatic case of African Americans in the twentieth century. It also discusses newer mechanisms that have been advanced to promote racial-ethnic segregation in the twenty-first century and how it fosters socioeconomic inequality through the spatial concentration of poverty. Finally, it describes current levels and trends with respect to both racial and class segregation in cities around the world.
William Julius Wilson
This article examines the political, economic, and cultural factors that contributed to the emergence and persistence of concentrated poverty in black inner cities. It begins with a discussion of the political forces that adversely affected black inner-city neighborhoods, followed by an analysis of impersonal economic forces that accelerated neighborhood decline in the black inner city and increased disparities in race and income between cities and suburbs. It then considers two types of cultural forces that contribute to racial inequality: belief systems of the broader society that either explicitly or implicitly give rise to racial inequality; and cultural traits that emerge from patterns of intragroup interaction in settings created by racial segregation and discrimination. It also assesses the impact of the recent rise of immigration on areas of concentrated urban poverty before concluding with suggestions for a new agenda for America’s inner city poor.