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The Impact of Racial Segregation on the Education and Work Outcomes of Second Generation West Indians in New York City


  • Mary C. Waters

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)


In this paper I focus on the third way in which race matters to second generation outcomes--ongoing institutional racism and the detrimental effects of racial segregation. I would like to suggest that while the cultural and identity reactions of second generation youth are important in determining their labor market outcomes, the structural constraints facing these youth have large independent effects. In other words, even the most non oppositional, un-race conscious, ambitious, school identified youth would face a very uphill battle to avoid crime and violence, do well in school, and get enough education in a local school to actually complete college. The literature on the second generation, including some of my own writing, has stressed the cultural and structural strengths of immigrants and their children and how they are able to overcome barriers which have cursed some native minorities in the US. However these barriers and the racial discrimination that sustains them are real and these real deprivations create failure among some youth. This paper is based on an in depth ace and interview study of first and second generation West Indians in New York City in the early 1990's. After a brief description of the research I concentrate on the ways in which neighborhood and school segregation function to limit opportunities in school and the labor market for second generation will flesh out the "black box" mechanisms by which race remains correlated with extreme disadvantage in our society even among the children of new immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary C. Waters, 1998. "The Impact of Racial Segregation on the Education and Work Outcomes of Second Generation West Indians in New York City," Macroeconomics 9802009, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9802009
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on PostScript; pages: 41; figures: included

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics


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