Atlanta Paradox

Atlanta Paradox

David L. Sjoquist Editor
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610445061
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  • Book Info
    Atlanta Paradox
    Book Description:

    Despite the rapid creation of jobs in the greater Atlanta region, poverty in the city itself remains surprisingly high, and Atlanta's economic boom has yet to play a significant role in narrowing the gap between the suburban rich and the city poor. This book investigates the key factors underlying this paradox.

    The authors show that the legacy of past residential segregation as well as the more recent phenomenon of urban sprawl both work against inner city blacks. Many remain concentrated near traditional black neighborhoods south of the city center and face prohibitive commuting distances now that jobs have migrated to outlying northern suburbs.

    The book also presents some promising signs. Few whites still hold overt negative stereotypes of blacks, and both whites and blacks would prefer to live in more integrated neighborhoods. The emergence of a dynamic, black middle class and the success of many black-owned businesses in the area also give the authors reason to hope that racial inequality will not remain entrenched in a city where so much else has changed.

    A Volume in the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-506-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 THE ATLANTA PARADOX: INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)
    David L. Sjoquist

    Atlanta offers a sharply contrasting mosaic: the poverty of its public housing projects versus the sprawling riches of its suburbs; the mansions in Buckhead versus the weathered wooden row houses in Cabbagetown; the glistening office towers and glitzy shopping in Midtown and Lenox Square versus the abandoned stores on the Southside; the grocery carts filled with aluminum cans versus the BMWs filled with gray-suited executives; suburban jobs that go wanting versus a city black poverty rate of 35 percent.

    These contrasts reflect what we call the Atlanta paradox. It is a paradox of substantial racial segregation in a community with...

  5. 2 GROWTH AND CHANGE IN METROPOLITAN ATLANTA
    (pp. 15-41)
    Truman A. Hartshorn and Keith R. Ihlanfeldt

    Atlanta remained a small town until the post–Civil War era. At the beginning of the war, the city numbered about 11,000 residents, but by war’s end, despite being burned by Sherman’s troops, it had grown to a city of 15,000.

    The leading city in Georgia in the late nineteenth century was the coastal port of Savannah. The second-ranking cities in the state at the time were the inland fall-line manufacturing cities of Augusta, Macon, and Columbus (see map 2.1). They maintained close ties to Savannah with both rail and water connections. Savannah, in turn, had close European ties for...

  6. 3 ATLANTA: THE HISTORICAL PARADOX
    (pp. 42-58)
    Ronald H. Bayor

    Atlanta mayor William Hartsfield proclaimed in 1955, in relation to the desegregation of the city’s public golf courses, that Atlanta was “a city too busy to hate.” That slogan, subsequently used in his political campaigns and during the 1960s civil rights efforts, grew popular, although it never came close to the truth.

    Atlanta’s image of racial harmony was protected and perpetuated because of concern about the city’s economy. Little Rock and Birmingham lost investment and saw business stagnate during times of racial conflict, and Atlanta’s political and business leaders were afraid that the city’s economic growth and progress would end...

  7. 4 RACIAL ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS IN ATLANTA
    (pp. 59-87)
    Obie Clayton Jr., Christopher R. Geller, Sahadeo Patram, Travis Patton and David L. Sjoquist

    Race has always played an important role in Atlanta. Much of the character of the city is the result of policies driven by racial concerns. As discussed in chapter 3, in Atlanta the development of roads, the placement of public housing units, housing patterns, and the expansion of the city’s boundaries were fueled, at least in part, by a desire to segregate blacks and to maintain white control of city government. One can trace the roots of the Atlanta paradox to a long history of suppression of blacks in Atlanta.

    Despite this history, Atlanta has long had a relatively large...

  8. 5 BLACK-WHITE RESIDENTIAL SEGREGATION IN ATLANTA
    (pp. 88-115)
    Mark A. Thompson

    While the Atlanta metropolitan area has experienced rapid growth in population, income, and employment in recent years, the rewards have not been shared equally across the region. The inner-city core of Atlanta houses a disproportionate share of highly concentrated and persistent poverty, among blacks in particular.

    One contributing factor to the Atlanta paradox of persistent inner city poverty in a metropolitan area that has experienced robust growth may be the continuation of a high level of black-white residential segregation in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Additional evidence of the need to give consideration to housing segregation as a potential explanation for...

  9. 6 THE GEOGRAPHIC MISMATCH BETWEEN JOBS AND HOUSING
    (pp. 116-127)
    Keith R. Ihlanfeldt and David L. Sjoquist

    A as earlier chapters have made clear, the Atlanta area has experienced substantial increases in employment, but mostly in the suburbs. Low-skilled blacks, however, have been confined largely to the central city. Thus, one possible explanation for the Atlanta paradox is the “spatial mismatch” that exists between the location of jobs and the residences of low-skilled minority workers.

    This chapter focuses on the spatial mismatch hypothesis as a possible explanation for the Atlanta paradox. Most of the research is based on an analysis of data contained in the Greater Atlanta Neighborhood Study (see the appendix to chapter 1 for a...

  10. 7 EARNINGS INEQUALITY
    (pp. 128-157)
    Keith R. Ihlanfeldt and David L. Sjoquist

    Accompanying Atlanta’s substantial growth in employment and population has been substantial growth in income. Over the past forty years, the ratio of median family income for the Atlanta MSA to that for the United States increased from near unity (1.02) to 1.20 while the median income for black families in the city of Atlanta relative to the U.S. median family income for all families was essentially unchanged. This has led to substantial differences within the Atlanta area in family income by geographic area and by race. Perhaps most remarkable is the racial difference in median family income within the city...

  11. 8 THE INTERSECTION OF GENDER AND RACE IN ATLANTA’S LABOR MARKET
    (pp. 158-184)
    Irene Browne and Leann M. Tigges

    During the 1970s and 1980s, economic growth in Atlanta created expanding employment opportunities. Many of the new jobs created came to be occupied by women. Labor force participation steadily increased for both white and black women, from 47 percent in 1970 to 64 percent in 1990 among white women, and from 56 percent to 69 percent among black women. Despite this increased involvement in the labor force, the gender gap in earnings closed less than 2 percentage points in the 1980s for full-time workers. African American women, in particular, participated in the labor market in large numbers but had earnings...

  12. 9 JOB SEGREGATION, ETHNIC HEGEMONY, AND EARNINGS INEQUALITY
    (pp. 185-216)
    Cynthia Lucas Hewitt

    This chapter focuses on earnings inequality between blacks employed in a job with majority-white co-workers who do the same type of work and those employed in a job with majority-black coworkers. These two groups have been described as “assimilated” and “nonassimilated” black workers (Boston 1988). The attempt here is to understand the nature of majority-black jobs without assuming the negative connotations of the descriptive termsegregated.Many studies of labor market outcomes for African Americans seek to explain restriction of blacks’ access to jobs, and in labor market analyses the focus is generally on the degree to which African Americans...

  13. 10 FINDING WORK IN ATLANTA: IS THERE AN OPTIMAL STRATEGY FOR DISADVANTAGED JOB SEEKERS?
    (pp. 217-243)
    Nikki McIntyre Finlay

    Chapter 6 discussed the role of spatial mismatch in explaining the Atlanta paradox, and concluded that access to job opportunities is important. Certainly, one of the important aspects of job policy is to ensure that job seekers who are poor know how to appropriately search the job opportunities that do exist. Unfortunately, job seekers living in poor areas are often at a double disadvantage when looking for work. First, they often live in areas suffering from declining employment, and thus may suffer from spatial mismatch. Second, family and friends of these workers often have little information about good jobs, while...

  14. 11 “SOMEONE TO COUNT ON”: INFORMAL SUPPORT
    (pp. 244-263)
    Gary Paul Green, Roger B. Hammer and Leann M. Tigges

    A growing debate in the urban poverty literature focuses on whether African American poverty is accompanied by social isolation (Fernandez and Harris 1992; Wilson 1987, 1996).Social isolationrefers to poor individuals’ lack of social ties with others, especially those with jobs, higher levels of education, and resources that could provide them with support, especially informal employment information. Social isolation, it is alleged, is primarily the result of the declining number of jobs for unskilled African Americans in the inner city, coupled with residential segregation by race and income (Wilson 1996).¹ The loss of middle-income jobs, and employed people, in...

  15. 12 URBAN INEQUALITY IN ATLANTA: POLICY OPTIONS
    (pp. 264-286)
    David L. Sjoquist

    The chapters in this volume have explored many of the possible causes of what we have called the Atlanta paradox—the existence and persistence of substantial racial inequality in Atlanta in the face of an extremely dynamic economy. These causes can be grouped into four categories.¹

    DiscriminationSeveral chapters provided at least indirect evidence that racial and gender discrimination exists in Atlanta’s labor market, and that racial discrimination exists in its housing market.

    Access to employmentSubstantial evidence was presented showing that racial differences in access to jobs exist. In particular, chapter 6 presents strong evidence concerning the existence of...

  16. Index
    (pp. 287-300)