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The Continuing Significance of Race Revisited: A Study of Race, Class, and Quality of Life in America, 1972 to 1996

Michael Hughes and Melvin E. Thomas
American Sociological Review
Vol. 63, No. 6 (Dec., 1998), pp. 785-795
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2657501
Page Count: 11
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Abstract

More than a decade ago, we (Thomas and Hughes 1986) demonstrated that the subjective well-being of African Americans in the United States was significantly and consistently lower than that for whites over the 14-year period from 1972 to 1985. Since then, evidence has accumulated on several important dimensions of well-being that African Americans fare as well as or better than whites, suggesting a change in the pattern observed for nearly 40 years. Using data from the General Social Survey (GSS) for the period 1972 to 1996, we show that quality of life continues to be worse for African Americans than it is for whites, although anomia and mistrust have increased a little more rapidly in recent years for whites than for blacks. Racial disparities in quality of life do not vary by and are not explained by socioeconomic status. Although racial inequality appears to be the primary cause of these differences, the exact processes producing them are as yet unknown.

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