Date of Award

4-1974

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

Supervisor

Howard Brotz

Abstract

There are differing views in the literature about the evolution of the black community in the United States. This paper seeks to assess current trends on the basis of census data and focuses on four major areas. The first section deals with the progress of different sectors of the black community. Complete families and those in the North and West have closed the income gap more than broken families and those in the South. The next chapter treats two of the major components of income disparities: differences in years of schooling and differences in job distribution. Both educational and occupational attainment only explain about a third of the difference in income among black and white men while they explain almost all the difference among black and white women. The unexplained difference among black men appears to be due to dis - crimination. However, current evidence points to substantial improvements in the position of educated black man and younger black workers. The third section is concerned with the relationship between economic and social phenomena in light of Frazier's theory. There appears to be substantial convergence in marital stability, fertility patterns, educational patterns, etc. across class lines. The greatest differences in behavior between the races are found in the lower class. The discrepancies are largely due to differential access to the economic rewards of the society. The last section treats a neglected portion of the black community - black "'/omen. Black female headed families have actually lost ground in comparison with their white counterparts. On the opposite extreme are black college educated women who are the only sector of the black community which actually earns more than its white counterpart. Finally, the prospects for the future are discussed in respect to the growing schism in the black community between the skilled and unskilled and the possible implications on race relations in America.

McMaster University Library

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