Segregation and stratification: A biosocial perspective

Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Thirty years after the civil rights era, the United States remains a residentially segregated society in which Blacks and Whites inhabit different neighborhoods of vastly different quality. Given high levels of racial segregation and elevated rates of Black poverty, it is axiomatically true that African Americans will experience more neighborhood poverty than other groups. Moreover, because poverty is associated with crime and delinquency, they will also be exposed to far higher rates of social disorder and violence. In this article I argue that long-term exposure to social disorder and violence because of segregation produces a high allostatic load among African Americans, which leads, in turn, to a variety of deleterious health and cognitive outcomes. After summarizing recent research on stress and allostatic load, I specify a biosocial model of racial stratification and draw upon it to explicate well-documented racial differentials with respect to health and cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiosocial Theories of Crime
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781351573610
ISBN (Print)9780754629191
StatePublished - Jul 5 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Allostatic Load
  • Health
  • Segregation
  • Stratification
  • Stress


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