Race and Social Problems

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 157–170 | Cite as

Race and Unemployment Amidst the New Diversity: More Evidence of a Black/Non-Black Divide

  • Amon EmekaEmail author


The fact that the United States is more racially and ethnically diverse now than in the past has led scholars to dismiss dichotomous—black/white—conceptions of race as antiquated. However, some others have noted the emergence of a black/non-black divide that is manifest in patterns of residential segregation and intermarriage. This study attempts to determine whether such a dichotomous conception is sufficient to capture the effects of race and ethnicity on unemployment patterns among entry-level workers in the United States. Findings suggest that more than 80% of the effects of race and ethnicity on unemployment can be captured simply by knowing who is black and who is not. The most elaborate conception tested here acknowledges 20 different racial and ethnic groups; it adds significantly but not commensurately to the explanatory power of the models. Despite the increasingly diverse racial and ethnic composition of entry-level labor markets in the United States, it is black exclusion that seems to drive the effects of race and ethnicity on unemployment.


Race Ethnicity Unemployment Joblessness Black disadvantage Racial inequality 



I wish to thank Tim Biblarz, Janice Johnson Dias, Reynolds Farley, Ivy Forsythe-Brown, Dan Lichter, John R. Logan, Vincent Louis, Doug Massey, Devah Pager, Katy Pinto, and anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful feedback on earlier versions of this paper. Responsibility for any shortcomings of this work, however, is borne entirely by the author. I would also like to express my appreciation for the research support I received from the University of Southern California Population Research Center (SCPRC) and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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