Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Diversity and Disparities

Diversity and Disparities: America Enters a New Century

John R. Logan editor
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 492
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Diversity and Disparities
    Book Description:

    The United States is more diverse than ever before. Increased immigration has added to a vibrant cultural fabric, and women and minorities have made significant strides in overcoming overt discrimination. At the same time, economic inequality has increased significantly in recent decades, and the Great Recession substantially weakened the economic standing not only of the poor but also of the middle class.Diversity and Disparities,edited by sociologist John Logan, assembles impressive new studies that interpret the social and economic changes in the United States over the last decade. The authors, leading social scientists from many disciplines, analyze changes in the labor market, family structure, immigration, and race. They find that while America has grown more diverse, the opportunities available to disadvantaged groups have become more unequal.

    Drawing on detailed data from the decennial census, the American Community Survey, and other sources, the authors chart the growing diversity and the deepening disparities among different groups in the United States Harry J. Holzer and Marek Hlavac document that although the economy always rises and falls over the business cycle, the Great Recession of 2007-2009 was a catastrophic event that saw record levels of unemployment, especially among less-educated workers, young people, and minorities. Emily Rosenbaum shows how the Great Recession amplified disparities in access to home ownership, and demonstrates that young adults, especially African Americans, are falling behind previous cohorts not only in home ownership and wealth but even in starting their own families and households.

    Sean F. Reardon and Kendra Bischoff explore the rise of class segregation as higher-income Americans are moving away from others into separate and privileged neighborhoods and communities. Immigration has also seen class polarization, with an increase in both highly skilled workers and undocumented immigrants. As Frank D. Bean and his colleagues show, the lack of a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants inhibits the educational and economic opportunities for their children and grandchildren. Barrett Lee and colleagues demonstrate that the nation and most cities and towns are becoming more diverse by race and ethnicity. However, while black-white segregation is slowly falling, Hispanics and Asians remain as segregated today as they were in 1980.

    Diversity and Disparitiesraises concerns about the extent of socioeconomic immobility in the United States today. This volume provides valuable information for policymakers, journalists, and researchers seeking to understand the current state of the nation.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-846-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Population Studies

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xx)
  5. Chapter 1 Diversity and Inequality: Recent Shocks and Continuing Trends
    (pp. 1-20)
    John R. Logan

    What’s happening? As America passed into the twenty-first century we were all aware of momentous events that changed our future. In the 1990s, we experienced the breakup of the Soviet bloc and a quick victory in a war with Iraq, and there were positive signs of declining federal deficits, improvements in the economy, and benefits from technological innovations. But we became aware of the dot-com bubble when average prices on the NASDAQ stock exchange—which had doubled from the previous year—peaked at $5,500 in March 2000, then fell 80 percent to $1,114 two and a half years later. (By...

  6. Part I The Great Recession:: The Great Divide

    • Chapter 2 A Very Uneven Road: U.S. Labor Markets in the Past Thirty Years
      (pp. 23-59)
      Harry J. Holzer and Marek Hlavac

      In the past three decades, the American economy has experienced large swings in performance, over shorter and longer time periods, and has undergone major structural changes. During the 1980s, we first endured a severe recession, engineered by the Federal Reserve Bank to fight high rates of inflation, and then recovered with a lengthy period of expansion and economic growth. Another and milder recession in the early 1990s was followed by an even more robust period of expansion, often called “the Great Boom” or “the Roaring Nineties,” during which high productivity and income growth returned to the U.S. economy. But in...

    • Chapter 3 The Middle Class: Losing Ground, Losing Wealth
      (pp. 60-104)
      Edward N. Wolff

      We Americans see ourselves not so much as a classless society but as a resolutely middle-class one, where ordinary people who work hard, obey the rules, and behave decently will prosper. “Middle-class” connotes not simply income but a mind-set. Americans from a range of incomes and a spectrum of occupations describe themselves as middle-class.

      Optimism has been the leitmotif of the middle class—the belief that one generation will “do better” than the next, that a rising tide will lift all boats, that just as our nation’s economy grows, so too will our household budgets. From the left and the...

    • Chapter 4 Median Income and Income Inequality: From 2000 and Beyond
      (pp. 105-138)
      Richard V. Burkhauser and Jeff Larrimore

      The first decade of the twenty-first century was a turbulent economic period for the average American.¹ Based on Current Population Survey (CPS) data, in 2000 median household income hit a record high, but fell for the next four years in the aftermath of the 2001 recession. By the end of 2007, even after three years of growth, median income was still below its 2000 peak. When the Great Recession hit in 2007, median income fell by a total of 6.78 percent over the next three years—a percentage drop greater than in any previous recession since the CPS began annual...

    • Chapter 5 Residential Mobility in the United States and the Great Recession: A Shift to Local Moves
      (pp. 139-180)
      Michael A. Stoll

      Americans are very mobile. Over the last three decades, the share of Americans who moved in a given year was always more than 10 percent. Despite this, mobility has been declining over this period. More telling, in the last decade, especially in the years just before and during the Great Recession, there was a consistent decline in long-range migrations and a rise in local moves. Interstate residential mobility, already in decline for the past thirty years, had slowed to a near-standstill by the end of the 2000s (Frey 2008a, 2009a). This study shows several ways in which the Great Recession...

    • Chapter 6 Cohort Trends in Housing and Household Formation Since 1990
      (pp. 181-207)
      Emily Rosenbaum

      Many Americans want to own their own home. Indeed, survey data reveal that the vast majority of individuals under age forty-five expect to purchase a home sometime during their lives, despite the drop in household wealth from the recent housing market crash (Belsky 2013). Homeownership confers social and economic benefits, including tax advantages, “forced” savings, and wealth accumulation—assuming that prices rise. The rate of homeownership is often used as a barometer to measure the nation’s overall housing health. When compared over time, homeownership can track the achievements of successive cohorts of adults at the same life stage and indicate...

    • Chapter 7 Residential Segregation by Income, 1970-2009
      (pp. 208-234)
      Kendra Bischoff and Sean F. Reardon

      Every city or metropolitan area in the United States has higher- and lower-income neighborhoods.¹ The average socioeconomic status of these neighborhoods, however, varies considerably. Moreover, socioeconomic residential sorting has grown substantially in the last forty years (Reardon and Bischoff 2011a, 2011b; Watson 2009), and the bulk of that growth occurred in the 1980s and in the 2000s.

      We refer to the uneven geographic distribution of families of different income levels within a metropolitan area as “family income segregation,” or more simply, “income segregation.” Our use of the term “segregation” is descriptive: it denotes the extent to which families of different...

  7. Part II The Persistence of Change:: Dealing with Diversity

    • Chapter 8 The Divergent Paths of American Families
      (pp. 237-269)
      Zhenchao Qian

      For a very long time, a typical American family consisted of a working husband, a stay-at-home wife, and children.¹ This traditional family was portrayed during the 1950s and 1960s in popular TV dramas and sitcoms such asFather Knows BestandLeave It to Beaverand represented what an ideal family looked like. Over time, especially since the 1970s, American families have been undergoing fundamental changes. The so-called traditional family is now much less common, and the transformation of marriage as a social institution has given young adults today many more options about partnering and parenting (Cherlin 2004). Some young...

    • Chapter 9 Diversity in Old Age: The Elderly in Changing Economic and Family Contexts
      (pp. 270-305)
      Judith A. Seltzer and Jenjira J. Yahirun

      The economist Charles Kenny’s statement inBloomberg Business Weekthat “the world is rapidly adding wrinkles” describes population aging in more visual terms than is usually found in most census reports.¹ Demographers use the language of “declining fertility” and “increased life expectancy” to account for global growth in the old-age population, and by these measures, the U.S. population is part of the global growth in “wrinkles.”² Today more than 40 million Americans are age sixty-five and older (Howden and Meyer 2011, table 1). This group makes up almost 13 percent of the U.S. population, representing more than a threefold increase...

    • Chapter 10 U.S. High-Skill Immigration
      (pp. 306-340)
      John Bound and Sarah Turner

      Immigration in the United States is characterized by “twin peaks” (Johnson and Slaughter 2001): disproportionately high concentrations of immigrants among very low-skill and very high-skill workers. Researchers and policymakers have focused on the incidence of low-skill immigration, particularly among undocumented workers, and the impact of this immigration on labor force outcomes for workers with minimal levels of education (Borjas 1987, 2003; Card 2005, 2009). However, research on the growth of high-skill immigration and the changing pathways to entry into the U.S. labor market has been more limited.¹

      From a purely theoretical perspective, the underlying economic model of immigration points to...

    • Chapter 11 Unauthorized Mexican Migration and the Socioeconomic Integration of Mexican Americans
      (pp. 341-374)
      Frank D. Bean, James D. Bachmeier, Susan K. Brown, Jennifer Van Hook and Mark A. Leach

      Nearly fifty years ago, the United States adopted policies that allowed new kinds of immigrants to come to the country (Martin 2011; Reimers 2005).¹ Immigration soon began to increase steadily. Now, one in eight U.S. residents is foreign-born, up from one in twenty in 1970 (Gryn and Larsen 2010). These more recent immigrants also differ from earlier generations. Nine of every ten come from outside Europe, the reverse of immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Grieco et al. 2012). They represent a variety of nationalities: more than twenty countries now contribute at least 1 percent to the...

    • Chapter 12 Gender Disparities in Educational Attainment in the New Century: Trends, Causes, and Consequences
      (pp. 375-414)
      Thomas A. DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann

      In a long-standing ritual, each spring tasseled graduates march across the stages of American colleges and universities, clutching diplomas—bachelor’s, master’s, doctorates.¹ Over time, women have come to dominate that throng.

      Consider the statistics. In 1970, 58 percent of college students were men; in 2010, 57 percent were women (National Center for Education Statistics 2012). By all predictions, women will gain in college enrollment and graduation over the next decade, widening the gender gap, albeit more slowly than in recent decades (National Center for Education Statistics 2012, table 283). The “feminization” of higher education is not unique to the United...

    • Chapter 13 Is Ethnoracial Residential Integration on the Rise? Evidence from Metropolitan and Micropolitan America Since 1980
      (pp. 415-456)
      Barrett A. Lee, John Iceland and Chad R. Farrell

      The United States has a well-earned reputation as a nation of immigrants.¹ This tradition is eloquently conveyed by the Emma Lazarus sonnet that appears on a plaque enshrined in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” From the colonial era through the midtwentieth century, the vast majority of people heeding Lady Liberty’s call came from Europe, a fact that facilitated their—or their descendants’—eventual incorporation into the societal mainstream (Alba and Nee 2003). However, another significant group of newcomers was forced to move here, the Africans...

  8. INDEX
    (pp. 457-472)