Table of Contents
Urban Studies Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 242741, 7 pages
Research Article

Beliefs about the Causes of Racial Inequality: The Persisting Impact of Urban and Suburban Locations?

1Department of Sociology, University of Central Florida, 1200 W. International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA
2Department of Sociology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA

Received 21 December 2011; Revised 25 April 2012; Accepted 26 April 2012

Academic Editor: Karen F. Parker

Copyright © 2012 J. Scott Carter and Mamadi Corra. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this paper is to assess the classical theoretical propositions of Wirth and Stouffer regarding the independent impact of urban and suburban residency on beliefs about racial inequality. This paper further assesses the impacts of these social locations over a three-decade period. While scholars pose that city size positively impacts behavior, there is debate regarding the impact of these locations over time. Using the General Social Survey, findings demonstrate that while urbanism continues to have an independent impact on beliefs, the impact of suburban residency is much weaker and inconsistent. Analyses of over time trends reveal that the gap between urban and rural residents appears to have increased, with rural residents expressing more intolerant beliefs about the causes of racial inequality over time. These findings are further discussed in a broader theoretical context.