Segregation, stigma, and stratification: A biosocial model

Douglas S. Massey, Brandon Wagner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews research on segregation's effect in generating concentrated poverty and stigma, and it explores the biological consequences of exposure to these conditions for health and socioeconomic status. High levels of segregation interact with high levels of poverty to produce concentrated poverty for African Americans and Hispanics in many metropolitan areas. In addition to objective circumstances of deprivation, the concentration of poverty also brings about the stigmatization of the segregated group. The differential exposure of Blacks and Hispanics to concentrated neighborhood disadvantage and its correlates, in turn, functions to shorten telomeres, increase allostatic load, and alter gene expression in deleterious ways. In so doing, it compromises health and cognitive ability, the two critical components of human capital formation, thus systematically undermining the socioeconomic prospects of African Americans and Hispanics in today's post-industrial, information economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Stigma, Discrimination, and Health
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780190243470
ISBN (Print)9780190243470
StatePublished - Dec 6 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • Allostasis
  • Concentrated poverty
  • Epigenetics
  • Segregation
  • Stigma
  • Telomeres


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