Segregation, the concentration of poverty, and the life chances of individuals

Douglas S. Massey, Andrew B. Gross, Mitchell L. Eggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


We outline a theoretical model that identifies residential segregation as a primary structural cause of the geographic concentration of poverty in U.S. urban areas. From this theory we specify and estimate a multilevel equation that links minority poverty and segregation within metropolitan areas to the concentration of socioeconomic deprivation within neighborhoods. We then estimate a second set of multilevel equations that connect neighborhood poverty rates to individual-level outcomes commonly associated with the underclass: male joblessness, teenage motherhood, and single parenthood. Our results link economic and social structures at the metropolitan level to individual outcomes that operate to perpetuate poverty and lead to the creation of the underclass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-420
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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