Demographics are rapidly changing in the United States. However, a shift in population is becoming even more prevalent and apparent in inner cities. Suburban sprawl had numerous effects on changing the look of major urban centers around the nation, with one of these effects being a change in the urban demographics.
When it came to the middle and upper classes, their population flourished outside of the city for decades. Reasons for this move included better school systems and more space. Now, however, United States’ metropolitan areas are seeing a new interest in urban living amongst the middle and upper classes. With regards to the African American population, the geographic trend is different. Many cities are experiencing what appears to be a noticeable decline in its black population.
Twenty of the twenty-five cities in the United States which have a black population of at least 250,000, or twenty percent, either saw a decrease in black population overall or a gain in black population which was smaller than in the past decade. Cities that are examples of this shift and change in black population are Chicago, Oakland, Atlanta, Cleveland, and St. Louis, among others (Black pop, 2014).
One reason at the core of this population shift is a rising cost of living in the city. It is no secret that with the rebound of the economy, numerous metropolitans are making major strives to revitalize their inner-city areas. While revitalization should be the goal of every city, the effects of such efforts are an increase in property values. The unintended consequences of revitalization is gentrification. The increase in property values, is pricing black population and other minorities out of the inner-city markets (Ioffee, 2015).
Prior to the recession, however, many cities were slowly seeing a decline in black population. Richmond, California, for example, lost nearly half of its black population. In 1990, blacks made up nearly fifty percent of the city’s population. By 2010, the rate was twenty-two percent. A major noted reason for this decline is a lack of jobs. In some cases of redevelopment, projects are often built with fewer units for lower incomes. Just half a decade ago, the average home price in Richmond was a little under $200,000. However, today the average is $362,000 (Ioffee, 2015).
Austin, Texas is a major example of where black population is declining. Texas’s capital city has lost more than half of its black population. While the city of Austin is experiencing phenomenal growth, in business and in population, the African American population is the only declining population. In this case, some point to the history of segregation where eighty percent of the city’s poorer class lived on the city’s east side. When redevelopment came, this created a “new frontier” for real estate and long-time residents simply could not cope with the new cost of living (Ricke, 2014). Much the same is seen even in Midwest cities like Kansas City or Indianapolis as well as in high cost areas of California.
This is only the beginning. It is going to get more challenging for African Americans and minorities in general. It is unfortunate that while we are enjoying historical low interest rates and lower than normal property values, African Americans have not been able to participate in the recovery. The rate of homeownership of African Americans is approximately forty-one and falling. The homeownership rate will fall to to mid thirty percent range before we see any improvement. The financial and economic conditions of the African American family is a major part of the issue. High unemployment, and a very high percentage of household that are headed by single mothers, is the headwind that will continue to make homeownership an uphill battle. Financial literacy, jobs, and greater support for the family is where we must start and stay awhile until it get better. Want to know more? Go to www.thepowerisnow.com and join the buyer’s and seller’s club for free to get free support, consultation and information from my team. You have the power to change your life now because The Power Is Now.
Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA
The Power Is Now Inc. CEO and President