228.6 Black flight: Racial shuffling in American metropolitan areas

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 10:15 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Hilary SILVER , Sociology, Brown University, Providence, RI
Orly CLERGE , Sociology, Brown University, Providence, RI
"Black Flight," or the rapid geographical mobility of African-Americans in US metropolitan areas, has received scholarly attention mostly as the return migration of African-Americans to cities in the American South (Frey, Berube).  In addition to this black inter-metropolitan mobility, there is evidence of intra-metropolitan movement. In line with Chicago School theory, urbanists have conventionally described this movement as "black suburbanization," focusing on outward movement from the "inner city" to the periphery.  However, at a time when middle class whites and immigrants are moving into the central city, racial dynamics in metropolitan space are more complex than simple outward movement.  Levels of racial segregation have largely persisted even though there is a lot of shuffling and churning going on.  Blacks are still more residentially segregated from whites than are Hispanics or Asians, but  average neighborhood segregation has decline for blacks between 2000 and 2010.  Areas thought of as "hyper-segregated ghettos" were depopulating as African-Americans left, making room for new immigrants.  Black and white gentrifiers are restoring older properties or rebuilding on vacant lots.  Thanks to housing vouchers, even low-income African Americans are relocating within central cities, although they usually move to other nearby poor, largely black neighborhoods.  This paper analyzes newly released data from the 2010 US Census and the 2000 Census to identify new patterns of "black flight" in American metropolitan areas and their relationship to white middle class and immigrant movements.