Spatial Differentiation of Black-White Inequality in Poverty in the United States: Racial Threat and the Conditioning Influence of the Legacy of Slavery

Heather A. O'Connell, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Katherine J. Curtis, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Black-white inequality in poverty is unevenly distributed across the United States. A common explanation for such spatial differentiation is the racial threat hypothesis. Previous studies examining racial threat implicitly assumed racial concentration has the same effect in all places. However, the literature on the legacy of slavery suggests racial threat has a greater impact on inequality in the South compared to the non-South. Legacy’s conditioning effect on racial threat requires empirical investigation. To better understand spatial differentiation in black-white inequality we analyze county level census data from 2000 in two ways. First, we explore the spatial differentiation in the relationship between African American concentration and black-white inequality using geographically weighted regression. Next, we conduct a regime analysis to systematically examine the extent to which racial threat’s relationship with black-white inequality varies across slavery regimes. Preliminary results suggest substantial variation in the racial threat process in relation to black-white inequality.

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Presented in Poster Session 2