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Moving Up and Moving Out: Confusing Ends and Means About Ghetto Dispersal

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  • Mark Alan Hughes

    (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University)

Abstract

Assimilation is a pervasive ethos of American life. It is central to the nation's self-understanding and it is fundamental to much of American social theory and policy. See Gordon (1964), Glazer and Moynihan (1978), and Lieberson (1980). The disproportionate poverty and isolation of blacks has raised doubts about the receptive capacity of American society and has fostered a debate about the policy response required by the problem. In this paper, I argue that the assimilation model is relevant and useful to an analysis of urban black poverty. From the model, I derive a series of hypotheses that engage a long-running empirical debate over the relation between the segregated ghetto and economic opportunity. This analysis explores the relation between moving up (in socioeconomic status) and moving out (of the central-city ghetto). I argue that the call for ghetto dispersal as a means of breaking the 'underclass' stems from an incomplete understanding of ethnic group mobility within US society as well as of the pervasive tangle of limited opportunities facing blacks throughout the metropolitan region.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Alan Hughes, 1987. "Moving Up and Moving Out: Confusing Ends and Means About Ghetto Dispersal," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 24(6), pages 503-517, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:24:y:1987:i:6:p:503-517
    DOI: 10.1080/00420988720080751
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Price, Richard & Mills, Edwin, 1985. "Race and residence in earnings determination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, January.
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    3. Straszheim, Mahlon R., 1980. "Discrimination and the spatial characteristics of the urban labor market for black workers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 119-140, January.
    4. John F. Kain, 1968. "Housing Segregation, Negro Employment, and Metropolitan Decentralization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 82(2), pages 175-197.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Deakin, Elizabeth, 2001. "Sustainable Development & Sustainable Transportation: Strategies for Economic Prosperity, Environmental Quality, and Equity," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt8mf1z8mh, University of California Transportation Center.
    3. P. A. Jargowsky, "undated". "Take the money and run: Economic segregation in U.S. metropolitan areas," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1056-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    4. Michael Greene & Emily Hoffnar, 1994. "Residential location and the earnings of white and Hispanic men," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(8), pages 127-131.

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