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Defining and Measuring the Underdass
Erol R. Ricketts and Isabel V. Sawhill
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Vol. 7, No. 2 (Winter, 1988), pp. 316-325
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3323831
Page Count: 10
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Research on the underclass has been hampered by the absence of a clear definition of the term. In this article we develop an operational definition of the underclass that is consistent with the emphasis of most of the underclass literature on behavior rather than poverty. Using this definition, we analyze data for all census tracts in the United States in 1980. According to our definition, about one percent of the U.S. population lived in "underclass areas" in 1980, and this group was overwhelmingly concentrated in urban areas. It was also disproportionately made up of minorities living in the older industrial cities of the Northeast.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management © 1988 Wiley