24 Int'l Migration Rev. 4 (1990)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv24 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Racial and Ethnic Inequality in the

United States, 1940 and 1950: The

Impact of Geographic Location and
Human Capital'


Charles Hirschman
University of Washington

Ellen Percy Kraly
Colgate University

     From  the newly released 1940 and 1950 Census PUMS   (Public Use
     Microdata Sample)  files, this study analyzes male occupational strati-
     fication for 35 ethnic populations, defined by race and national
     origins (foreign birthplace or parental birthplace). While racial and
     Spanish origin minorities had average occupational statuses (scored
     by Duncan's Socioeconomic  Index) far below that of NWNP (Native
     White  of Native Parentage) men, most European ethnics, especially
     second  generation men, were  equal to or only slightly below the
     majority population in 1940 and 1950. A detailed labor market classi-
     fication of 266 geographic areas did not prove to be a powerful
     mediating variable in the process of ethnic occupational stratification.
     Higher  education attainments of northern born black men did not
     help them escape from low status occupations.

The image  of the United States as a land of opportunity for immigrants and
their children is a staple of popular culture. So, too, is the country's
reputation ofhostility and discrimination toward minority groups. Are these
two sides of the same coin-depending on whether  the observer sees the
glass as half-empty or half-full? Has the process of ethnic stratification been
qualitatively different for Americans of color who trace their ancestry to

   I Revised version of a paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Population Association
of America, 3-5 April 1986, San Francisco, CA. This research has been supported by a grant
(Immigrants, Minorities, and Their Opportunities: 1940-1950) from the National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development (HD 18486). We thank Luis M. Falcon, Samuel
Fridman, and Sharon Mengchee Lee for their significant contribution to the research reported
here, and Richard Alba, Barbara Cain, Judah Matras and Ewa Morawska for their helpful
comments on an earlier draft.


4   IMR Volume  xxiv, No. 1

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