The Color of Opportunity
Pathways to Family, Welfare, and Work
The culmination of a six-year collaboration analyzing the Urban Poverty and Family Life Survey of Chicago, The Color of Opportunity is the first major work to compare Chicago's inner city minorities with national populations of like race and ethnicity from a life course perspective. The authors find that blacks, whites, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans living in poor neighborhoods differ in their experiences with early material deprivation and the lifetime disadvantages that accumulate—but they do not differ much from the urban poor in their family formation, welfare participation, or labor force attachment. Stier and Tienda find little evidence for ghetto-specific behavior, but they document the myriad ways color still restricts economic opportunity.
The Color of Opportunity stands as a much-needed corrective to increasingly negative views of poor people of color, especially the poor who live in deprived neighborhoods. It makes a key and lasting contribution to ongoing debates about the origins and nature of urban poverty.