The Review of Black Political Economy

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 21–36 | Cite as

Urban economic transformation and minority business opportunities

  • Timothy Bates


In summary, this study hypothesized and found evidence of black business growth opportunities in business services, amenities, finance, and real estate. Decline of small-scale black retailing was hypothesized, but this decline was found to be much more apparent in snowbelt as opposed to sunbelt urban areas. Manufacturing was found to be surprisingly durable in the snowbelt and extraordinarily weak in the sunbelt, which is quite inconsistent with basic economic transformation trends operating in both regions. Weak performance in black-owned sunbelt manufacturing paralleled similar performance in sunbelt black-owned wholesaling. Sunbelt weaknesses in these two major industry groupings require explanation and would be appropriate topics for future research.

Older central cities that once served as centers for industrial production are rapidly being transformed into cities where administrative and service functions are the dominant economic activities. Smaller, service-oriented firms are thriving in these cities, and minority-owned businesses appear to be major beneficiaries of this important urban trend. Finally, minority business development policies are most likely to be successful if they are complimentary to the basic long-term trends that are transforming urban America.


Central City Business Service Central Business District Black Business Minority Business 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Ranked in order of number of paid employees, the 10 dominant industry groupings in 1972 were: (a) special trade contractors; (b) eating, drinking establishments; (c) auto dealers, service stations; (d) business services; (e) personal services; (f) insurance carriers; (g) food stores; (h) miscellaneous retail; (i) trucking, warehousing; (j) general building contractors. See U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,1977 Survey of Minority-Owned Business Enterprises: Black (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John Kain, “The Distribution and Movement of Jobs and Industry.” In John Kain (ed),Essays on Urban Spatial Structure. Cambridge: Ballinger Publishing Co., 1976, pp. 79–114.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    For elaboration on the types of jobs that are leaving snowbelt central cities and growing in sunbelt cities, see Bennett Harrison and Edward Hill, “The Changing Structure of Jobs in Older and Younger Cities,”Joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massa- chusetts Institute for Technology and Harvard University, Working Paper no. 58, March 1979.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Evidence on these trends is summarized in Timothy Bates, “Black Economic Weil-Being Since the 1950s,”The Review of Black Political Economy 12, no. 4, Spring 1984, pp. 5–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 6.
    Timothy Bates, “The Potential of Black Capitalism,”Public Policy, Winter 1973, pp. 137–41.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Bates

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