A new study conducted by University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Pittsburgh and Duke University says that the scourge of gentrification is greatly exaggerated.
In their study of more than 15,000 neighborhoods across the U.S. in 1990 and 2000, researchers found that low-income, non-white households did not disproportionately leave gentrifying areas.
"In fact, researchers found that at least one group of residents, high school–educated blacks, were actually more likely to remain in gentrifying neighborhoods than in similar neighborhoods that didn't gentrify - even increasing as a fraction of the neighborhood population, and seeing larger-than-expected gains in income.
Those findings may seem counterintuitive, given that the term "gentrification," particularly in cities like New York and San Francisco, has become synonymous with soaring rents, wealthier neighbors and the dislocation of low-income residents. But overall, the new study suggests, the popular notion of the yuppie invasion is exaggerated. "We're not saying there aren't communities where displacement isn't happening," says Randall Walsh, an associate professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh and one of the study's authors. "But in general, across all neighborhoods in the urbanized parts of the U.S., it looks like gentrification is a pretty good thing."
The researchers found, for example, that income gains in gentrifying neighborhoods - usually defined as low-income urban areas that undergo rises in income and housing prices - were more widely dispersed than one might expect."