Race, ethnicity, and underemployment in nonmetropolitan America: A 30-year profile

Tim Slack, Leif Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Historically, rural racial and ethnic minorities have been among the most economically disadvantaged groups in the United States. Key to understanding economic deprivation is employment hardship, trends in which serve as a benchmark for progress toward racial and ethnic equality. We conceptualize employment hardship as underemployment, which goes beyond unemployment to include discouraged workers, involuntary part-time workers, and the working poor. Analyzing data from the March Current Population Surveys of 1968 through 1998, we find that (1) there are large and persistent racial and ethnic inequalities in underemployment prevalence; (2) these disadvantages are explained only partially by other predictors of underemployment; (3) nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) minorities are more likely than either all metropolitan (metro) or central-city minorities to be underemployed; (4) black-white inequality has held steady overall, though it has declined markedly in nonmetro areas; and (5) Hispanic-white inequality has increased; this trend, however, is restricted to metro areas, central cities in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-233
Number of pages26
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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