Segregation, race, and the social worlds of rich and poor

Douglas S. Massey, Jonathan Tannen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

22 Scopus citations


Residential segregation has been called the “structural linchpin” of racial stratification in the United States. Recent work has documented the central role it plays in the geographic concentration of poverty among African-Americans as well as the close connection between exposure to concentrated deprivation and limited life chances. Here we review trends in racial segregation and Black poverty to contextualize a broader analysis of trends in the neighborhood circumstances experienced by two groups generally considered to occupy the top and bottom positions in U.S. society: affluent Whites and poor Blacks. The analysis reveals a sharp divergence of social and economic resources available within the social worlds of the two groups. We tie this divergence directly to the residential segregation of African-Americans in the United States, which remains extreme in the nation’s largest urban Black communities. In these communities, the neighborhood circumstances of affluent as well as poor African-Americans are systematically compromised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Dynamics of Opportunity in America
Subtitle of host publicationEvidence and Perspectives
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783319259918
ISBN (Print)9783319259895
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences


  • Geographic mobility
  • Hypersegregation
  • Neighborhood disadvantage
  • Poverty
  • Poverty concentration
  • Racial segregation
  • Racial stratification
  • Residential segregation
  • School segregation


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