UCLA Study: Growing Mismatch Between African Americans
And Job Locations Increases Racial Inequality
A new study conducted by a UCLA researcher and published by the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program indicates that the distance between African Americans and the location of employment opportunities has increased over the last several decades, exacerbating racial inequality in major cities within the United States.
Dr. Michael Stoll, assistant professor of public policy and urban planning at the UCLA school of public affairs, conducted the study, “Job Sprawl and the Spatial Mismatch Between Blacks and Jobs.”
In the study, Stoll reports that changes in the location of jobs within metropolitan areas have served to increase the physical distance between predominantly Black residential areas and suburbanizing employment centers.
Metropolitan areas with both high spatial mismatch and job sprawl include large cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Newark, reports Stoll, who also is director of the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty at UCLA.
Stoll uses the term “job sprawl” to indicate low-density, geographically spread-out patterns of employment growth in the study, which measured the relationship between job sprawl and spatial mismatch across roughly 300 metropolitan areas in the United States. The data used were drawn primarily from Census 2000 and U.S. Department of Commerce ZIP Code Business Patterns files.
“Given the difficulty of … commuting to suburbs in many metropolitan areas via public transit, coupled with the fact that high proportions of Blacks do not own cars, spatial mismatch may disconnect Blacks from many jobs for which they may be suited, thereby increasing their employment difficulties,” Stoll says.
The study suggests that by better linking job growth with existing residential patterns, policies to promote balanced metropolitan development could help narrow the mismatch between Blacks and jobs, and improve their employment outcomes over time.
Findings from the report include the following:
– Metropolitan areas with higher levels of employment decentralization exhibit greater spatial mismatch between the relative locations of jobs and Black residents.
– Greater job sprawl is associated with higher spatial mismatch for Blacks, but not for Whites.
– Blacks are more geographically isolated from jobs in high job-sprawl areas regardless of region, metropolitan area size and their share of metropolitan population.
– Metropolitan areas characterized by higher job sprawl also exhibit more severe racial segregation between Blacks and Whites.
The full report is available at <www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20050214_jobsprawl.htm>.
— Associated Press
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