Document Type


Publication Title

Social Problems


University of California Press

Publication Date



This article tests the proposition that, beginning in the 1970s, historic growth of public environmental concern and opposition to waste facilities, as well as changes in the policy environment increasingly encouraged hazardous waste facilities siting to follow the path of least (political) resistance and resulted in environmental inequities. Our longitudinal analysis of sitings in the State of Michigan from 1950 to 1990 reveals a distinct temporal pattern supporting our hypotheses. Whereas significant racial, socioeconomic, and housing disparities at the time of siting were not in evidence for facilities sited prior to 1970, patterns of disparate siting were found for facilities sited after 1970. Thus, we call for environmental justice studies employing longitudinal methods to understand the processes and factors contributing to environmental inequalities with greater consideration to changes in historical context.




Published as Saha, Robin and Paul Mohai. 2005. "Historical Context and Hazardous Waste Facility Siting: Understanding Temporal Patterns in Michigan." Social Problems, 52(4): 618-348. © 2005 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by [the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [JSTOR (] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,