Black middle-class neighborhoods

Mary Pattillo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


The black middle class received little scholarly attention from the 1960s through the 1980s, when the emphasis was on studying the black urban poor. Recently, however, there has been an increase in attention to this group and their residential environs. This review covers the topics of racial and class segregation, the comparative well-being of black middle-class neighborhoods, and residential preferences, with some attention to black suburbanization and black gentrification. Research findings clearly show that middle-class blacks in the United States have more favorable residential outcomes than poor blacks but still live in poorer neighborhoods than the majority of whites on all measures. Ethnographic studies explore this marginal position in more depth. I argue that if racial integration is the remedy to various racial disparities, then the more fruitful endeavor may be to study the ideologies, practices, and cultures of white neighborhoods, rather than black ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-329
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - 2005


  • African Americans
  • Class
  • Race
  • Segregation
  • Suburbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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