The biggest demographic shift underway in America is a reverse of the “Great Migration” of the 20th century when African Americans fled poverty, discrimination, and violence in the rural south to inner cities in the Midwest, Northeast, and West Coast.
Today, the Great Migration is reversing. Blacks are moving to the south and into the suburbs in record numbers.
As new research from the Milken Institute shows, today, most major cities, especially Northern cities, are seeing their black populations dwindle. (See chart below.) More than half of all black people living in metropolitan areas are in the suburbs.The report gives a few reasons for this:
- Improved race relations in the suburbs
- Young, educated black adults associate Northern cities with their parents’ struggles
- Suburbs in Southern metropolitan areas are the easiest places to find a job today and they are particularly open to
- Increase of Hispanic population in cities
- White gentrification in urban neighborhoods
This makes the wonderfully gerrymandered political landscape a bit more complicated than politicians would like it to be. Suburbia is no longer a white Republican enclave.
The report says, “How this will play out is unclear. But there’s no doubt that the old generalizations about cities versus the suburbs are losing validity. While the undertow of white resentment of racial minorities that powered the 2010 election is still being felt, politicians who pander to the past may soon be marginalized by the reality of black and Hispanic feet on the ground.”
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