Segregation, poverty, and empowerment: health consequences for African Americans

Milbank Q. 1993;71(1):41-64.


Cities in the United States have undergone major social transitions during the past two decades. Three notable factors in these shifts have been the development of a black political elite sustained rates of black poverty, and intensified racial segregation. Indications of the effect of these social forces on black-white differentials in health status have begun to surface in the research literature. This article reports analyses of data from all U.S. cities with a population of 50,000, at least 10 percent of which is black. These results indicate substantial geographic variation in black-white infant mortality rates. Racial residential segregation, black political empowerment, and black and white poverty are the characteristics that distinguish cities that have a high degree of disparity in black-white infant mortality from cities that do not.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Policy
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Politics
  • Poverty*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Prejudice*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data