Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa


  • Niki T. Dickerson vonLockette (a1) and Jacqueline Johnson (a2)

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.

Corresponding author
Niki Dickerson vonLockette, Rutgers University, Department of Labor Studies, 50 Labor Center Way, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. E-mail:
Hide All

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

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Richard D. Alba and John R. Logan (1991). Variations on Two Themes: Racial and Ethnic Patterns in the Attainment of Suburban Residence. Demography, 28: 431–53.

Richard D. Alba , John Logan , and Brian Stults (2000). The Changing Neighborhood Contexts of the Immigrant Metropolis. Social Forces, 79: 587621.

Richard D. Alba and Victor Nee (2003). Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

John J. Beggs and Wayne J. Villemez (2001). Regional Labor Markets. In Ivar Berg and Arne L. Kalleberg (Eds.), Sourcebook on Labor Markets: Evolving Structures and Processes, pp. 503531. New York: Springer.

Lawrence Bobo and Camille L. Zubrinsky (1996). Attitudes on Residential Integration: Perceived Status Differences, Mere In-Group Preference, or Racial Prejudice? Social Forces, 74(3): 883909.

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (1997). Rethinking Racism: Towards a Structural Interpretation. American Sociological Review, 62: 465480.

Cynthia Brown and Jose A. Pagan (1998). Changes in Employment Status Across Demographic Groups During the 1990–91 Recession. Applied Economics, 30: 15711583.

David Card and Alan B. Krueger (1992). School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 107: 151200.

Lisa Catanzarite (2002). The Dynamics of Segregation and Earnings in Brown-Collar Occupations. Work and Occupations, 29: 300345.

Lisa Catanzarite (2000). Brown-Collar Jobs: Occupational Segregation and Earnings of Recent-Immigrant Latinos. Sociological Perspectives, 43: 4575.

Camille Zubrinsky Charles (2003). The Dynamics of Racial Residential Segregation. Annual Review of Sociology, 29: 167207.

William A. V. Clark (1992). Residential Preferences and Residential Choices in a Multiethnic Context. Demography, 29: 451466.

William A. V. Clark (1986). Residential segregation in American Cities: A Review and Interpretation. Population Research and Policy Review, 7: 113121.

Samuel Cohn and Mark Fossett (1996). What Spatial Mismatch?: The Proximity of Blacks to Employment in Boston and Houston. Social Forces, 75: 557572.

David M. Cutler and Edward L. Glaeser (1997). Are Ghettos Good or Bad? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112: 827–72.

Ronald D'Amico and Nan L. Maxwell (1995). The Continuing Significance of Race in Minority Male Joblessness. Social Forces, 73: 969991.

Niki Dickerson (2007). Black Employment and the Social Organization of Metropolitan Labor Markets Economic Geography, 83(3): 283307.

Jorge Durand , Douglas S. Massey , and Emilio A. Parrado (1999). The New Era of Mexican Migration to the United States. The Journal of American History, 86: 518536.

Bruce C. Fallick (1996). A Review of the Recent Empirical Literature on Displaced Workers. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 50(1): 514.

Reynolds Farley , Charlotte Steeh , Maria Krysan , Tara Jackson , and Keith Reeves (1994). Stereotypes and Segregation: Neighborhoods in the Detroit Area. American Journal of Sociology, 100: 750780.

Ana-Maria González Wahl , R. Saylor Breckenridge , and Steven E. Gunkel (2007). Latinos, Residential Segregation, and Spatial Assimilation in Micropolitan Areas: Exploring the American Dilemma on a New Frontier. Social Science Research, 36: 9951020.

Susan Hanson and Geraldine Pratt (1992). Dynamic Dependencies: A Geographic Investigation of Local Labor Markets. Economic Geography, 68: 373405.

Harry J. Holzer , Keith R. Ihlanfeldt , and David L. Sjoquist (1994). Work, Search, and Travel among White and Black Youth. Journal of Urban Economics, 35: 320345.

Matt L. Huffman and Philip N. Cohen (2004). Racial Wage Inequality: Job Segregation and Devaluation across U.S. Labor Markets. American Journal of Sociology, 109: 902936.

Mark Alan Hughes (1995). A Mobility Strategy for Improving Opportunity. Housing Policy Debate, 6: 271–97.

John Iceland (2004). Beyond Black and White: Residential Segregation in Multiethnic America. Social Science Research, 33: 248271.

John Iceland and Kyle Anne Nelson (2008). Hispanic Segregation in Metropolitan America: Exploring the Multiple Forms of Spatial Assimilation. American Sociological Review, 73:741765.

John Iceland and Melissa Scopilliti (2008). Immigrant Residential Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 1990–2000. Demography, 45: 7993.

John Iceland , Cicely Sharpe , and Erika Steinmetz (2005). Class Differences in African American Residential Patterns in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: 1990–2000. Social Science Research, 34: 252266.

Keith R. Ihlanfeldt (1993). Intra-Urban Job Accessibility and Hispanic Youth Employment Rates. Journal of Urban Economic, 33: 254271.

John F. Kain (1968). Housing Segregation, Negro Employment and Metropolitan Decentralization. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 82: 175–97.

John F. Kain (1992). The Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis: Three Decades Later. Housing Policy Debate, 3: 371392.

John D. Kasarda (1993). Inner-City Concentrated Poverty and Neighborhood Distress: 1970 to 1990. Housing Policy Debate, 4: 253302.

John D. Kasarda (1989). Urban Industrial Transition and the Underclass. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 501: 2647.

John D. Kasarda (1983). Entry-Level Jobs, Mobility, and Urban Minority Employment. Urban Affairs Quarterly, 19: 2140.

Maria Krysan (2002). Whites Who Say They'd Flee: Who Are They and Why Would They Leave? Demography, 39(4): 675696.

Maria Krysan and Reynolds Farley (2002). The Residential Preferences of Blacks: Do They Explain Persistent Segregation? Social Forces, 80(3): 937980.

Jennifer Lee and Frank D. Bean (2007). Reinventing the Color Line Immigration and America's New Racial/Ethnic Divide. Social Forces, 86: 561587.

Daniel T. Lichter (1988). Racial Differences in Underemployment in American Cities. American Journal of Sociology, 93: 771–92.

John R. Logan (2003). How Race Counts for Hispanic Americans Sage Race Relations Abstracts, 29: 719.

John R. Logan , Brian Stults , and Reynolds Farley (2004). Segregation of Minorities in the Metropolis: Two Decades of Change. Demography, 41(1): 122.

Douglas S. Massey (2009). Racial Formation in Theory and Practice: The Case of Mexicans in the United States. Race and Social Problems, 1: 1226.

Douglas S. Massey and Brooks Bitterman (1985). Explaining the Paradox of Puerto Rican Segregation. Social Forces, 64: 306331.

Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton (1985). Spatial Assimilation as an Economic Outcome. American Sociological Review, 50: 94106.

Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton (1987). Trends in the Residential Segregation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians: 1970–1980. American Sociological Review, 52: 802825.

Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton (1988). Suburbanization and Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas. American Journal of Sociology, 94: 592626.

Douglas S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton (1989). Hypersegregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Black and Hispanic Segregation Along Five Dimensions. Demography, 26: 373–91.

Douglas S. Massey and Kathleen M. Schnabel (1983). Recent Trends in Hispanic Immigration to the United States. International Migration Review, 17: 212244.

Leslie McCall (2001). Sources of Racial Wage Inequality in Metropolitan Labor Markets: Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Differences. American Sociological Review, 66: 520542.

Thomas S. Moore and Aaron Laramore (1990). Industrial Change and Urban Joblessness: An Assessment of the Mismatch Hypothesis. Urban Affairs Quarterly, 25: 640658.

Philip Moss and Chris Tilly (2001). Hiring in Urban Labor Markets. In Ivar Berg and Arne L. Kalleberg (Eds.), Sourcebook on Labor Markets: Evolving Structures and Processes, pp. 601643. New York: Springer.

Alejandro Portes and Cynthia Truelove (1987). Making Sense of Diversity: Recent Research on Hispanic Minorities in the United States. Annual Review of Sociology, 13: 359385.

Stephen Raphael (1998). The Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis of Black Youth Joblessness: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area. Journal of Urban Economics, 43: 79111.

Joseph A. Rodriguez (1994). Mexicans in U.S. Cities: New Perspectives. Journal of Urban History, 20: 554563.

Emily Rosenbaum (1996). The Influence of Race on Hispanic Housing Choices, New York City 1978–1987. Urban Affairs Review, 32: 217243.

Jimmy Sanders and Victor Nee (1987). Limits of Ethnic Solidarity in the Enclave Economy. American Sociological Review, 52: 745767.

Anne M. Santiago (1990). Patterns of Puerto Rican Segregation and Mobility. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 14: 107133.

Scott J. South , Kyle Crowder , and Erick Chavez (2005). Geographic Mobility and Spatial Assimilation among U.S. Latino Immigrants. International Migration Review, 39: 577607.

Michael A. Stoll (2006). Job Sprawl, Spatial Mismatch, and Black Employment Disadvantage. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 25(4): 827854.

Michael A. Stoll (1999). Spatial Mismatch, Discrimination, and Male Youth Employment in the Washington, DC Area: Implications for Residential Mobility Policies. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 18: 7798.

Brian D. Taylor and Paul M. Ong (1995). Spatial Mismatch or Automobile Mismatch? An Examination of Race, Residence, and Commuting in U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Urban Studies, 32: 14531473.

Marta Tienda and Ding-Tzann Lii (1987). Minority Concentration and Earnings Inequality: Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians Compared. American Journal of Sociology, 93: 141–65.

Jeffrey M. Timberlake and John Iceland (2007). Change in Racial and Ethnic Residential Inequality in American Cities, 1970–2000. City and Community, 6: 335365.

Susan C. Turner (1997). Barriers to a Better Break: Employer Discrimination and Spatial Mismatch in Metropolitan Detroit. Journal of Urban Affairs, 19: 123141.

Michael J. White , Ann E. Biddlecom , and Shenyang Guo (1993). Immigration, Naturalization, and Residential Assimilation among Asian Americans in 1980. Social Forces, 72: 93117.

Camille L. Zubrinsky and Lawrence Bobo (1996). Prismatic Metropolis: Race and Residential Segregation in the City of the Angels. Social Science Research, 25: 335374.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 12 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 90 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.