Archive for Sunday, May 9, 2010

Analysis: Suburbs losing young whites to cities

Findings may offer political road map for elections

May 9, 2010


— White flight? In a reversal, America’s suburbs are now more likely to be home to minorities, the poor and a rapidly growing older population as many younger, educated whites move to cities for jobs and shorter commutes.

An analysis of 2000-2008 census data by the Brookings Institution highlights the demographic “tipping points” seen in the past decade and the looming problems in the 100 largest metropolitan areas, which represent two-thirds of the U.S. population.

The findings could offer an important road map as political parties, including the tea party movement, seek to win support in suburban battlegrounds in the fall elections and beyond. In 2008, Barack Obama carried a substantial share of the suburbs, partly with the help of minorities and immigrants.

The analysis being released today provides the freshest detail on the nation’s growing race and age divide, which is now feeding tensions in Arizona over its new immigration law.

Ten states, led by Arizona, surpass the nation in a “cultural generation gap” in which the senior populations are disproportionately white and children are mostly minority.

This gap is pronounced in suburbs of fast-growing areas in the Southwest, including those in Florida, California, Nevada, and Texas.

“A new metro map is emerging in the U.S. that challenges conventional thinking about where we live and work,” said Alan Berube, research director with the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, a nonpartisan think-tank based in Washington. “The old concepts of suburbia, Sun Belt and Rust Belt are outdated and at odds with effective governance.”

Suburbs still tilt white. But, for the first time, a majority of all racial and ethnic groups in large metro areas live outside the city. Suburban Asians and Hispanics already had topped 50 percent in 2000, and blacks joined them by 2008, rising from 43 percent in those eight years.

The suburbs now have the largest poor population in the country. They are home to the vast majority of baby boomers age 55 to 64, a fast-growing group that will strain social services after the first wave of boomers turns 65 next year.

Analysts attribute the racial shift to suburbs in many cases to substantial shares of minorities leaving cities, such as blacks from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Whites, too, are driving the trend by returning or staying put in larger cities.

Washington, D.C., and Atlanta posted the largest increases in white share since 2000, each up 5 percentage points to 44 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Other white gains were seen in New York, San Francisco, Boston and cities in another seven of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.

“A new image of urban America is in the making,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings who co-wrote the report. “What used to be white flight to the suburbs is turning into ‘bright flight’ to cities that have become magnets for aspiring young adults who see access to knowledge-based jobs, public transportation and a new city ambiance as an attraction.”

“This will not be the future for all cities, but this pattern in front runners like Atlanta, Portland, Ore., Raleigh, N.C., and Austin, Texas, shows that the old urban stereotypes no longer apply,” he said.

The findings are part of Brookings’ broad demographic portrait of America since 2000, when the country experienced the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a historic boom in housing prices and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.


Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Kansas City is certainly prepared for this movement. tons of new downtown residential downtown in general being revitalized I see more cyclists Cosentino's located a new gourmet grocery store at 13th and Main old movie houses with repaired marquees a new performing arts center at 16th/17th & Broadway an old KCMO neighborhod close to downtown - 17th&Summit is coming alive with local/organic food service cafe's and art galleries - some beautiful old homes definitely coming alive (just right up the street from the new performing arts center). downtown KCMO is loaded with cultural arts * downtown library has been renovated - awesome!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

JOCO/KCMO public transportation facilities are all over the place.

KCMO has been preparing for this movement.

RKLOG 7 years, 7 months ago

Dang! Will the Brookings Institution be able to handle the demographics of everyone mixing together so nicely?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Probably gotta hand it to KCMO city planners who measured what was coming and what it would take to meet the demand.

Our local developers do not think that way. They like helter skelter without any real direction just so it "looks like a good idea" not that it is one. Our local developers control the planning commission and city hall.

High tax dollar bedroom community = not a plan

Over building retail = unfriendly to business = not smart economics = no economic impact study

Over building anything = not smart economics

Mike Ford 7 years, 7 months ago

what about white flight to rural areas to avoid minorities and hide racial antimosity throught the tea party movement? and homeschooling too? wow, the secret has been cracked.

Mike Ford 7 years, 7 months ago

what about white flight to rural areas to avoid minorities and hide racial antimosity throught the tea party movement? and homeschooling too? wow, the secret has been cracked.

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