The employment of central city male youth: Nonlinear effects of racial composition

Lori McCreary, Paula England, George Farkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We test for linear and nonlinear effects of the racial composition of a youth’s city on his probability of employment. The sample, extracted from 1980 Public Use Census data, consists of black and white male youths, aged 17-20, residing in central cities. Controlling for a number of individual and city characteristics, we find that the absolute and relative probabilities of employment for young black men are hurt by being in a city with a higher proportion of blacks, up to a tipping point of about 50 percent black. Thereafter, blacks’ absolute and relative employment odds are positively associated with the proportion black. This is consistent with the nonlinear version of the competition thesis proposed by Blalock (1957) and Lieberson (1980), and with economists' notion of employment discrimination based on the tastes of customers and coworkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-75
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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