Black Americans Are Moving South

packard detroit

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Black Americans are leaving northern states and relocating in the south, US census data show.  Blacks are not just leaving Michigan, as one would expect.  They are leaving New York and Illinois and the two major cities therein: New York City and Chicago. The New York Times reports that those leaving tend to be “younger and better educated.”  Walter Mead has a long post today on what this reversal of “the great migration” means for the “Big Blue” model of Democratic Party governance.  Here’s an excerpt:

The failure of blue social policy to create an environment which works for Blacks is the most devastating possible indictment of the 20th century liberal enterprise in the United States.  Helping Blacks achieve the kind of equality and opportunity long denied them was more than one of many justifications for blue social policy: it was the defining moral task that has challenged and shaped American liberalism for the last 50 years.

The Census tells us that in the eyes of those who know best, these well intentioned efforts failed.  Instead of heaven, we have hell across America’s inner cities.  Blue economic policy has cut the creation of new private sector jobs to a trickle in our great cities, while the high costs of public union urban services (and policies that favour government employees over the citizenry at large) impose crippling taxes and contribute to the ruinously high costs that blight opportunity.  All the social welfare bureaucracies, diversity counselors and minority set-asides can’t make up for the colossal failure of blue social policy to create sustainable lower middle class prosperity in our cities.

Most Blacks of course still vote blue at the ballot box, but more and more of them are voting red with their feet.  They are betting in massive numbers that southern Republicans will do a better job of helping their kids get good educations, police their communities more fairly (see this article, where NYT columnist Charles Blow blames the Black flight from New York on the racist police), offer more affordable housing and create a better business climate.  Over time, this is going to affect the balance of power in Black politics and pull the Democratic Party (and the national consensus) to the right.  Reapportionment is already pulling political power toward the South; New York today has fewer electoral votes than it did at the start of the Civil War and it is going to lose two more House seats in the next division.

The prophets of an emerging Democratic majority driven by demographic growth among Blacks and Hispanics should probably reflect that both southern and ethnic northern whites were once solidly Democratic too. As those groups became a little more affluent and moved into the suburbs, their ideologies and allegiances shifted; will Blacks and Hispanics be any different?

You can read the whole thing here.