Spatial mismatch and employment in a decade of restructuring

Sara McLafferty, Valerie Preston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spatial barriers to employment limit women's job opportunities, but their effects differ among racial/ethnic minority groups. This study evaluates the degree of spatial mismatch for minority women and men by comparing the commuting times of African American, Latino, and white workers in the New York metropolitan region. Using Public Use Microdata for 1980 and 1990, we perform a partial decomposition analysis to assess the role of spatial mismatch in lengthening commuting times for minority workers. The results show that African American men and women living in the center of the region have poorer spatial access to employment than their white counterparts. In the suburbs, African American women and Latinas suffer no spatial mismatch; rather, their longer commuting times reflect greater reliance on mass transit. Comparison with 1980 findings reveals little change in spatial mismatch over time despite significant economic and social restructuring in the 1980s. Spatial barriers still limit employment prospects for the majority of minority women living at the core of the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-431
Number of pages12
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Race
  • Spatial mismatch
  • Urban labor markets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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