Where Have the Black Kids Gone? To the Suburbs.

Where Have the Black Kids Gone? To the Suburbs.

Where are hundreds of thousands of African-American children that used to live in some of the nation’s largest cities? Demographers say they've moved to the suburbs.

Published June 30, 2011

 

(Photo: AP/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Where are hundreds of thousands of African-American children that used to live in some of the nation’s largest cities? 

 

The Associated Press reports that Census data shows that the number, and percentage, of Black children living in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans, as well as many other major urban areas, have been cascading downward for years.

 

Demographers say a number of factors are at play, such as increased use of birth control, but one may surprise. More young African-American couples have moved to the suburbs, for the usual reasons: more space, better schools and greater tranquility. That has reduced the number and percentage of black children in major cities, while the Black older population has remained steady.

 

Writes the Associated Press:

 

"Last year's census found that the number of black, non–Hispanic children living in New York City had fallen by 22.4 percent in 10 years. In raw numbers, that meant 127,058 fewer black kids living in the city of Jay-Z and Spike Lee, even as the number of black adults grew slightly.

"The same pattern has repeated from coast to coast. Los Angeles saw a 31.8 percent decline in its population of black children, far surpassing the 6.9 percent drop in black adults. The number of black children in Atlanta fell by 27 percent. It was down 31 percent in Chicago and 37.6 percent in Detroit. Oakland, Calif. saw a drop of 42.3 percent, an exodus that fell only 6 percentage points below the decline in flood-ravaged New Orleans.

"Overall, the census found nearly a half-million fewer black children living in the 25 largest U.S. cities than there were a decade earlier. By comparison, the number of black adults living in big cities has hardly budged."

 

The irony, of course, is that as young Blacks move out of cities, many of their white contemporaries as well as their parents are leaving the suburbs for the excitement of an urban environment. Plus there are growing numbers of immigrants of races and ethnicities boosting big city overall numbers.

 

David Bositis, a senior researcher at the Black issue–oriented think tank, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and former Census Bureau demographer sees nothing wrong with the trend, and says cities will benefit.  "On one level, it is a big plus for the cities,” he told a reporter, “People without children are much cheaper than people with children. Especially young people. They are making very little in way of demands on city services."

Written by Frank McCoy

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