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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 June 2010

Niki T. Dickerson vonLockette*
Department of Labor Studies, Rutgers University
Jacqueline Johnson
Department of Sociology, Adelphi University
Niki Dickerson vonLockette, Rutgers University, Department of Labor Studies, 50 Labor Center Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. E-mail:


The spatial configuration of minorities relative to Whites in a metropolitan area, or residential segregation, has been identified as a significant barrier to access to employment opportunities for racial/ethnic minorities, including Latinos, in metropolitan labor markets. Dominating the research are tests of place stratification models that focus on segregated ethnic enclaves or the mismatch between minority communities and employment opportunities. Both approaches focus on predominantly Latino neighborhoods and communities, but overlook their structural location and isolation in the broader metropolitan labor market. This study examines whether and to what extent structural characteristics of metropolitan labor markets in which Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans live and work shape their employment opportunities and whether or not these relationships vary across the three Latino native-origin groups. We utilize a unique dataset of the demographic, employment, educational, occupational, and industrial characteristics of the 95 largest US cities. The analyses feature both OLS regression to ascertain if varying levels of segregation across metropolitan areas in 2000 is associated with different levels of employment for Latinos, and a fixed-effects analysis to determine if changes in these structural factors between 1980 and 2000 within the same labor market affect the employment rates of Latinos in that metropolitan area. We find that segregation has a deleterious effect on Latino men's employment; in cities where segregation is worse, their employment rates are lower, and as the cities that they live in became more segregated over the 20 year period of study, their employment rates decreased.

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Copyright © W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research 2010

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This research is supported by a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant awarded by the National Academy of Science.



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