This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Orleans Has Become More Racially Segregated Since Katrina

Geographer Richard Campanella of Tulane University has been analyzing demographic changes in New Orleans since Katrina and the surprising finding is that the city is now more residentially segregated by race than it was before the devastating flooding.

"Paradoxically, while much of greater Gentilly and eastern New Orleans lost large numbers of African-Americans in absolute numbers, they simultaneously became more African-American in a relative sense because the few whites who lived in those areas departed in even greater numbers than their black neighbors," Campanella, the author of six books about the city's landscape, noted in a summary of his findings.
Meanwhile, neighborhoods stretching from the Riverbend to Uptown and into Treme and St. Roch saw a parallel increase in the proportion of white residents, a change that reflects historic trends, Campanella wrote.
Since 2000, "every single tract between Magazine and Tchoupitoulas -- including Riverside, Irish Channel and the Lower Garden District riverfront -- has seen increased white and decreased black populations, some of them dramatic," Campanella wrote.
Tracts in that area where at least half the residents were black in 2000 almost all fell below the threshold, while the number of tracts where fewer than 15 percent of residents were African-American grew, the analysis shows.Even as housing patterns became somewhat more segregated in New Orleans, the suburbs became more diverse, Campanella found -- reflecting demographic trends seen across America.
Similar to most other cities in the American South, the 2010 census data show that Hispanic neighborhoods have also been appearing on the urban landscape.
University of New Orleans political scientist Ed Chervenak said he sees the latest data as evidence that "we're operating under a new demographic order."
Noting that minority groups tend to compete with each other -- for jobs, housing and political clout -- rather than banding together against the majority, the growing concentration of Hispanic residents could change the dynamics of traditionally African-American areas, he said.
Though the region's political allegiances historically have cleaved along black-white lines, Chervenak said officials might now face a "black, white and brown divide."

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