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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149094 Find in a Library
Title: Is There a Hispanic Underclass?
Journal: Social Science Quarterly  Volume:70  Issue:2  Dated:(1989)  Pages:265-284
Author(s): J W Moore
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 20
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This is a working paper designed to assess whether long-standing Hispanic poverty can usefully be conceptualized using Wilson's model of African-American immigration as a factor in the development of an urban underclass.
Abstract: The review of relevant research does not permit any firm conclusions about the development of new classes in U.S. Hispanic communities. The diversity of the Hispanic population makes this impossible, and in no sense does existing research provide an adequate basis for broad conclusions. On the national level, the broad economic restructuring may well affect Hispanics in the Rust Belt just as it affects African-Americans, but things are considerably more complicated in the Sun Belt. As among the African-American urban communities studied by Wilson, economic restructuring has reinforced the preexisting racial/ethnic division of labor, but the results may be less bleak. Garment sweatshops and low-wage enclave economies may not get many people out of poverty, but they still provide communities with a wage-based economy. This averts the growth of illegal and other alternative local economies (drug trade) and is thus less devastating than total unemployment. Among Hispanic communities, the basic institutions of family, churches, and businesses appear to operate differently from parallel institutions in other minority communities. This relatively optimistic conclusion does not mean that street problems do not exist in Hispanic communities; however they are encapsulated or contained. Hispanic juveniles can be reintegrated into family and work roles when jobs become available. The fact that few of the poor Hispanic communities studied display the features that Wilson defined as "underclass" should not be grounds for complacency. The broad national movement toward a bifurcated economy continues, and so do the social processes that Wilson has identified. 133 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Hispanic Americans; Juvenile delinquency factors; Social conditions
Note: Revision of a paper presented at the Tomas Rivera Center, San Antonio, Tex., 1988.
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