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Social Isolation of the Urban Poor: Race, Class, and Neighborhood Effects on Social Resources

Leann M. Tigges, Irene Browne and Gary P. Green
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Winter, 1998), pp. 53-77
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4121011
Page Count: 25
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Social Isolation of the Urban Poor: Race, Class, and Neighborhood Effects on Social Resources
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Abstract

We focus on the effects of race, class, and neighborhood on social isolation. Using data from households in Atlanta, Georgia, we compare poor and nonpoor African Americans to nonpoor whites on two types of social ties and the social resources inherent in those ties. We find that poverty has an important influence on the social resources available to African Americans in and outside of their household. Poor blacks are less likely than other blacks and nonpoor whites to live with another adult, to have even one person outside the household with whom they discuss important matters (a discussion partner), or to have a college-educated person in their discussion network. Higher neighborhood poverty reduces the size of the discussion network for whites and blacks and affects the probabilities of having any kind of social contacts. Important for the social isolation thesis is our finding that among African Americans, living in a very poor neighborhood increases social isolation and reduces access to social resources via one's network of close ties.

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