Environmental Injustice in the United States: Myths and Realities

By James P. Lester; David W. Allen et al. | Go to book overview

5-7, we employ these variables to assess the validity of the environmental injustice argument. Specifically, Chapter 5 examines the argument within the context of U.S. states; Chapter 6 is concerned with the extent of environmental injustice at the county level; and Chapter 7 deals with this issue within the context of cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants. In each of these chapters, we discuss the nature of the environmental harms that are examined at each level, the sample of jurisdictional units that we utilized in each analysis, a justification for the use of each jurisdictional unit analyzed, and any idiosyncratic research problems that we encountered at each level of analysis. We begin with the state-level analysis before proceeding to the county and city level analyses.


Notes
1.
Some research does report null class-risk relationships ( Adeola, 1994; Allen, Lester, and Hill, 1995; Gianessi, Peskin, and Wolfe, 1979; Lester and Allen, 1996; West, 1992). Other research reports counterintuitive findings. Bowman and Crews- Meyer ( 1995, 1997) report that as per capita income increases, so does the presence of hazardous waste sites or generators in South Carolina counties. Hird ( 1993, 1994) also reports similar findings for the distribution of NPL sites in 3,000 U.S. counties.
2.
Measurement of social class at the state level was achieved by a four-item factor scale that combined traditional measures of education and income. The variables included in the factor scale and their factor loadings were: median family income, 1980, in $1,000,.89; per capita income, 1985, in $1,000, .89; percent college graduates, 1980, .81; percent population 18-24 years of age in college, 1980, .65. The eigenvalue for the factor was 2.68, and the unidimensional factor generated by principal components analysis explained 67.1 percent of the variance in the pool of four variables. The county social-class scale resulted from a principal components factor analysis of six traditional indicators of social class. Two measures in the scale, median household income and percent of the population with a B.A. degree, were subjected to square root transformations in order to normalize univariate distributions, while median value of owner occupied housing was subjected to a log transformation for the same reason. Factor loadings for the single unrotated factor were: median family income, .85; median household income, .94; median value of owner occupied housing, .87; percent population B.A. degree, .84; percent population with high school degree, .77; and per capita income, .55. The factor has an eigenvalue of 4.17 and explains 69.6 percent of the variance in the pool of measures. The city-level social-class measure was constructed via a principal components factor analysis of 1990 per capita income, 1989 median family income, and 1990 percent of the population with B.A. dev gree or higher. The factor analysis was performed on data that had high values recoded to eliminate outliers. Once recoded, the measures were subjected to square root transformations (per capita income and median household income) or a log transformation (percent population with a bachelor's degree). Factor loadings on the city social-class scale are: per capita income, 1989, in $1,000, .95; median household income, 1989, in $1,000, .85; percent population, bachelor's degree or higher, 1990,

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Environmental Injustice in the United States: Myths and Realities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Dedications v
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Introduction the Nature of the Problem 1
  • Notes 7
  • 2 - Environmental Injustice Research: Reviewing the Evidence 9
  • Notes 18
  • 3 - Environmental Justice: Getting on the Public Agenda 21
  • Summary and Conclusions 51
  • Notes 52
  • 4 - Modeling Environmental Injustice: Concepts, Measures, Hypotheses, and Method of Analysis 57
  • Summary 73
  • Notes 74
  • 5 - Environmental Injustice in America's States 79
  • Notes 106
  • 6 - Environmental Injustice in America's Counties 113
  • Conclusion 129
  • Notes 131
  • 7 - Environmental Injustice in America's Cities 133
  • Conclusion 144
  • Notes 147
  • 8 - Summary and Conclusions from the Multilevel Analyses 149
  • Conclusion 156
  • Note 157
  • 9 - Existing Federal and State Policies for Environmental Justice: Problems and Prospects 159
  • Summary and Conclusion 171
  • Summary and Conclusion 171
  • 10 - Designing an Effective Policy for Environmental Justice: Implications and Recommendations 173
  • Conclusion 187
  • Notes 188
  • References 189
  • About the Authors 203
  • Index 205
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