Among the more interesting tidbits coming out of Tuesday's release of comprehensive demographic data regarding Detroit, Michigan and the nation was this nugget: The white, non-Hispanic population of Detroit was recorded at 13.3 percent in 2009, up from 8.4 percent a year earlier, an eye-raising 5 percentage points. It had climbed just a tenth of a percentage point from 2007 to 2008.Well I'm trying to come up with a conclusion, but without saying more whites means a better future for Detroit. The story I would like to read is how blacks are attempting to revitalize Detroit, just as easily as whites are moving in enjoying an emerging music and arts scene.
But while acknowledging the number of white residents in the city may have increased, demographers and researchers who study Detroit say another substantial factor is contributing to a rise in the percentage of whites -- the continuing exodus of African-Americans from the city.
"The black flight from the city started in the 1990s and it's only accelerated," said Jason Booza, a demographer who is a research assistant with the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
Indeed, the same data, from the Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey given to 3 million households nationwide, shows the city's black population dropping substantially as well, from 82.7 percent in 2008 to 76.3 percent last year. School enrollment data confirms that thousands of black students have been moving into school districts in southern Macomb County.
In other words, if the white population stayed the same and the black population shrunk, the white percentage would go up.
Booza and others say that while the ACS data may have flaws, they believe there are more white residents in the city, and many are in the midtown area near Wayne State University, Booza said.
"It's really perceptually increased in the recent past," he said. He believes they are coming to Detroit to enjoy the music and arts scene and are more likely to be young and without children.
I would like to know more about what's going on up that way.