Black Americans Are Leaving Northern and Western Cities in Droves
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Black Americans Are Leaving Northern and Western Cities in Droves

Census data reveals where Black residents are relocating

Suburbs and metro areas such as Houston and Atlanta are drawing in Black residents who are leaving urban areas in the North and West, including Detroit, Chicago, and Oakland.

That's what census data show as reported this week by The Wall Street Journal. The Journal spoke with families and single professionals who said they are looking for better economic opportunities and better housing prices, or trying to get away from racial violence. Some of them are relocating to Southern states, while others are just trying to get out of the city and move to nearby suburbs. The pandemic also contributed to some people leaving major cities to seek work elsewhere or work remotely, the story says. As such, it's hard to tell if these shifts are temporary or if they will hold long term.

"I wanted some peace and quiet. I was tired of the gunshots, the sirens,” WSJ quoted Mary Hall-Rayford as saying. The retired teacher left Detroit and moved to the suburb of Eastpoint, Michigan.

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The story points out that this seems to be a reversal of The Great Migration, the period between around 1910 to the 1970s when about 6 million Black people left the South to seek better opportunities (and a lot less overt racism) to Northern cities.

The migration can have some political consequences: It's only in recent years, with the influx of Democratic voters, that Georgia has become a swing state. But for cities where Blacks are leaving, the migration can have unintended consequences: The story points out that in Cleveland, some Black-owned businesses have failed due to a declining number of customers.

Ultimately, Covid-19—and how it accelerated the remote work revolution—really changed everything, in ways none of us likely imagined. Who would’ve thought?