Geographia Polonica (1993) vol. 61

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Inequality in the American City: Some evidence from the South

David M. Smith, Stephen Pile

Geographia Polonica (1993) vol. 61, pp. 433-448


The economic and political progress of black people in the United Statesin recent years could invite the expectation that the American city will have becomemore equal, in a racial and spatial sense. Evidence from selected cities in part of theSouth shows that this is not the case. In the four cities studied there was a wideningof the gap between predominantly white and predominantly black residential areasbetween 1960 and 1980. There was also an increase in inequality among thepredominantly black tracts, with the upward and outward mobility of the affluentwhile the poor remained trapped in inner-city poverty. Trends in individual cities aresubject to some differences, however, which can in part be attributed to the localextent of political and economic empowerment of the black population.

Keywords: America, blacks, cities, inequality, race

David M. Smith, Department of Geography, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, London, United Kingdom
Stephen Pile, School of Geography and Planning, Middlesex Polytechnic, Middlesex, United Kingdom