Census Finds Black Exodus From City
By ELIOT BROWN
Staff Reporter of the Sun
August 9, 2007
Elected officials and demographers say rising housing costs and changing immigration patterns are contributing to a decline in the city's black population, a trend fed in part by the growing number of families moving to the South.
As the city is seeing a huge influx of other racial and ethnic groups, estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau scheduled for release today show that the number of black residents fell by more than 40,000 between 2000 and 2006. The city's overall population was estimated to have grown by about 200,000, with the number of people identifying as Hispanic and Asian each increasing by more than 90,000.
African-American leaders say that especially for older residents, pastures can be greener outside of the city's boundaries, where the cost of living is significantly lower.
Should the estimates be correct, the trend would represent something of a turnaround from patterns of the previous decade: Between 1990 and 2000, the city's black population grew by more than 25,000.
Council Member Leroy Comrie Jr., who said he attends a moving-South party at least once a month, also pointed to a noticeable decline in the number of young African Americans that are staying or moving into the area, perhaps due to housing costs.
"I'm always talking about the fact that our children are not being able to afford our homes anymore," Mr. Comrie said.
The pattern of out-migration for the New York City black population differs from that of many major cities in the country, according to a demographer at the Brookings Institution, William Frey. Whereas affordability issues are pushing many to move to nearby suburbs in cities such as Chicago, in New York, the movement tends to be much farther, he said.
"What struck me is that the blacks who left New York City weren't going to suburban New Jersey, they were going to Washington, D.C., or Virginia, or some place like that," Mr. Frey said. "For blacks, a lot of it is not just the unaffordability of the city itself, but of the metropolitan area."
The director of the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center, John Mollenkopf, said the number of American-born blacks has been falling in the city for decades, but in the past foreign immigration had led to a net increase. "It's my sense that Afro- Caribbean migration to he city has slackened off to a degree in recent years," Mr. Mollenkopf said. "It was really the growth of the Afro- Caribbean population that did mask the slow decline of the African-American population."
The movement to the South by African Americans represents a generational shift, Mr. Mollenkopf said, as many of those moving tend to be older residents that moved to New York City from southern states decades ago.
Among all ethnic and groups, foreign immigration has been a strong, driving factor of population numbers. Of a single racial group, the Census Bureau estimated the Asians to have grown the most, increasing by more than 120,000 between 2000 and 2006.
The white population is estimated to have grown considerably as well, by more than 100,000.
The figure includes Hispanics that identify as white Â-- the Census considered Hispanic as an ethnicity, and did not include it in its choices for race. When Hispanics are removed, the city's white population grew by only a few thousand.
For the past three years, the city has successfully challenged the estimates from the U.S. Census, saying they are too low. However in the case of the declining black population, even after the previous years' estimates were revised, the population has been shown to drop.
Reader comment on: Census Finds Black Exodus From City
Submitted by Kyla Collins, Aug 11, 2007 17:15
I am one of the black people who have decided to leave NY, after living there for aomost 11 years. I was a teacher there for 3 years! I loved my job as a special education teacher in the Bronx, and would love to have stayed if New York had a better quality of life, and better opportunites for working and middle class families to live in decent housing. I moved down south on JUly 1st of this year, I have a new job as a special education teacher (which was actually about a $7,000 pay-cut) but I am still able to afford a 3 bedroom home rental, with a huge babckyard, some peace and quiet, some fresh air, and the chance to look up at the stars at night!
I am not looking back, I will NEVER go back to NYC to live, when I think about how miserable I was living there, I really for sorry for anybody who thinks "NY is the place to be", and is stuck there. And I hope I am able to convince everynody I know to leave that city. NY can keep all the movie stars, models, and business men, but the working and middle class has got to GET OUT and let people worry about what they are going to do with the City after all the hard workers leave!
Submitted by Daria, Aug 11, 2007 02:27
I am a New Yorker, born and raised. I love NY more than anything but I recently moved to Georgia because of rent and comfort. In the Bronx, I paid nearly $1,000 for a roach and rat-infested box of an apartment. I had exterminators come and my husband and I spent a fortune on traps, foam and steel wool, to do everything in our power to fix the problems. We spent a fortune on food because we could not use our stove which had nothing but rat feces in it. Many of our neighbors moved out even before us because of the same problems; families with small children and newborn babies. I went to court about 7 different times to fight my landlord on nastiness in our apartment building that was not being fixed. As a matter of fact, both the super and the landlord would act stupid as if they did not know that the problems existed. Too many slum lords in NY seem to think that it okay to let people live like that because it is NY. I refused to put up with it anymore and as much as I did not want to leave NY, I refused to play myself and my husband by getting another apartment which would almost definatley have the same problems. I had recently graduated from college and finally obtained a good paying job where I thought that I would finally be able to live comfortably. I work hard for my money and when I came home at the end of the day, I wanted to relax and feel comfortable in my home/apartment, not have to clean up mess from rodents and waste money on ordering food every night, or on parking tickets because of alternate side of the street parking etc. I have been in Georgia for almost a month now and although I miss many aspect of NY, I am extremely comfortable in my new apartment which I am paying $250.00 a month less for. My apartment is twice as huge, with 2 huge bathrooms. I have all the amenities I could imagine; a beautiful pool, 24-7 fitness center, laundy on the premices, PARKING ! ! ! ! I feel so comfortable in my apartment I don't even stress leaving too much. I would never be able to afford this type of living in NY. It is my suggestion to all minorities to move the h*ck out of NY and better the quality of their lives. I contemplated for 3 years before moving because I just didn't want to leave NY and all of its diversity and convenience. I'm a New Yorker forever, it runs through my soul but I couldn't throw away anymore money. I want to start a family eventually and now I can finally start to save some money. Most importantly, I am living comfortably and loving it ! ! ! Only rich people live like this in NY. For real my brothers and sisters, open your minds. New York will always be there. Peace and Love from someone who thought they could never leave NY ! !