Census Shows More Blacks Heading South

Increased economic opportunities are behind the great reverse migration.

Posted: 02/16/2011 10:49 AM EST
Atlanta, Georgia

In what could be called the Northeast’s “Black flight,” African-Americans are fleeing big northern cities for southern metropolises in droves, according to census estimates.

Cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Charlotte, N.C., in particular are seeing the population jumps—75 percent of the Black population growth since 2000—while northern cities like New York and Chicago are seeing their Black populations dwindle to their lowest numbers in at least 30 years, reports the Associated Press.   

About 57 percent of Blacks in the United States live in the South, which is up 4 percent from the 1970s, according to the Brookings Institution.

This trend is a reversal from the last century, when millions of Blacks left the South for the Northeast, West and Midwest during a period known as the Great Migration.

Why are Blacks going back to the South now? A big reason is better economic opportunities (i.e. lower home prices, lower cost of living, etc.), author Isabel Wilkerson, who wrote about the Great Migration in her book The Warmth of Other Suns, told the AP. 

“There is also a special connection,” Wilkerson added. “As the South becomes more in line with the rest of the country in social and political equality, many are wanting to connect with their ancestral homeland.”

The Census findings are based on 2009 data and are expected to be highlighted in official 2010 results that show changes in non-Hispanic Black populations in states.


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