Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chicago isn't the only city losing their black population...

What about our nation's capitol Washington, District of Columbia? I've heard about gentrification going on there for years. From Washington Post:
The number of African Americans residing in the District plummeted by more than 11 percent during the past decade, with blacks on the verge of losing their majority status in the city for the first time in half a century.

According to census statistics released Thursday, barely 50 percent of the District’s population was African American in 2010 — a remarkable shift in a place once nicknamed “Chocolate City.”

The black population dropped by more than 39,000 over the decade, down to 301,000 of the city’s 601,700 residents. At the same time, the non-Hispanic white population skyrocketed by more than 50,000 to 209,000 residents, almost a third higher than a decade earlier.

The census statistics showed a steeper change for both blacks and whites than had been estimated. With the city ‘s black population dropping by about 1 percent a year, African Americans might already be below the 50 percent mark in the city.

In a city that prides itself on being a hub of black culture and politics, a majority of residents have been black since whites began moving to the suburbs en masse at the end of World War II. By 1970, seven out of 10 Washingtonians were black.

The loss of blacks comes at a time when the city is experiencing a rebound, reversing a 60-year-long slide in population and adding almost 20,000 new residents between 2000 and 2010.
So, I'm sure this is a recurring theme:
Maurice Jackson, a professor of African American history at Georgetown University, said the black middle class has followed the white middle class before them, heading to the suburbs in search of more affordable housing and good schools.
BTW, former Mayor and Washington, DC city councilman Marion Barry was quoted. Not so sure he can provide an answer to this issue. Although he does talk about something Chicago that was an issue in the recently concluded mayoral campaign. Whether or not city workers MUST live in the city:
Barry, the four-term mayor who emerged from the civil rights movement, also faulted Congress for overturning a residency requirement for local government workers in 1988. That, he said, helped build up what he called “Ward 9,” referring to Prince George’s County.

“We can’t keep people from moving, but if we had a residency requirement, we could keep government workers from moving,” Barry said.
Black leadership in Chicago are grappling with the fact that Blacks are leaving the city. Probably not much different there than here. Surely DC had public housing projects which they recently demolished or turned them into co-ops where tenants must pay rent. If DC is very difficult to survive without a college degree then hey where else can low income people go but out of the inner city.

What I also accept as mention by another former DC Mayor Anthony Williams, that you want new businesses and resident to help generate revenue. Especially if that revenue may help low income people.

I don't know how DC is doing fiscally, but I would support -  paramount to worrying about Blacks leaving a city where for years they have dominated politically and culturally - finding a way to make a particular city viable.

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