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.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gentrification and Diversity in American Cities

Gentrification has been underway in richer cities of the world for decades, but the 2010 Census in the US has revealed that it is an important part of increasing the residential diversity of cities. The latest story comes from New York, where the NY Times reports on the transformation of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in NYC's Borough of Brooklyn "that traces its African-American roots to the early 19th century and has been the borough’s black cultural capital for decades."

Overshadowed by Harlem’s racial metamorphosis since 2000, an even more striking evolution has occurred in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Over all, the neighborhood is now barely 60 percent black — down from 75 percent a decade ago. But in the older Bedford section west of Throop Avenue, according to the 2010 census, blacks have recently become a minority of the population for the first time in 50 years.
“Both the fall of the crime rate and the improvement of the subway were conditions that made this neighborhood more attractive to people who might not have considered living there in the past,” said John H. Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
“In the 2010 census, the first thing we noticed was how the concentrations in many traditional black and white areas dropped off across so many blocks,” said Steven Romalewski, director of the mapping service of the Center for Urban Research at CUNY’s Graduate Center, which analyzed the census results block by block.
In Brooklyn, he said, “you can see how the white population, for example, is shifting eastward into traditionally black areas, while blacks are also moving eastward, especially to Flatlands and Canarsie.” Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who represents the area, said “some African-American homeowners have sold their houses and returned down South with the ability to improve their quality of life from a space standpoint or are moving to other parts of Brooklyn and to the suburbs.” “Others,” he continued, “have remained in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but have rented parts of their home out to newcomers, both black and white, to benefit from the increased market.” (The number of renters since 2000 has increased at a higher rate than the number of owners.)

San Diego's neighborhoods are far less famous to most people, but when the census data were first released, the San Diego Union-Tribune had reported similar trends in areas near downtown.
Defying the countywide 3 percent drop in non-Hispanic whites, neighborhoods ringing downtown San Diego registered a significant influx of whites this past decade as urban living gained popularity and historic neighborhoods underwent revitalization.Various improvements in the downtown core, redevelopment of East Village and construction of Petco Park helped to attract affluent and educated non-Hispanic white newcomers and businesses that cater to them, demographers said.

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