Still the Linchpin: Segregation and Stratification in the USA

Douglas S. Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


High levels of black residential segregation emerged over the course of the twentieth century as the black population urbanized. Segregation was achieved by means of different mechanisms at different times and places, beginning with targeted violence directed at African Americans followed later by discrimination in real estate and banking using devices such as deed restrictions, restrictive covenants, and racial redlining, practices that were institutionalized in federal policies during the New Deal. By 1977, however, discrimination had been outlawed in most US markets and average black segregation began to decline. The declines, however, were inversely proportional to the size of the black community. As Latinos grew in number after the 1970s, levels of racial isolation within Hispanic neighborhoods also rose. At the same time, class segregation increased, especially among families with children, and inequalities of wealth and income grew to create a polarized urban geography. High concentrations of affluence now prevail for affluent whites and Asians living in wealthy post-industrial coastal areas, with high concentrations of poverty prevailing for poor blacks and Hispanics in older, declining industrial areas in the Midwest and the South, which also contain pockets of white and Asian poverty. The new political geography of race and class effectively denies blacks and Hispanics their access to quality education and undermines their lifetime earning prospects to create self-perpetuating system of social and economic stratification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalRace and Social Problems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Affluence
  • Concentration
  • Education
  • Poverty
  • Segregation


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