Whites Moving Into Black Neighborhoods Tip the Scales in Problematic Ways
An analysis from The New York Times looks at the trend of whites moving into largely minority neighborhoods close to downtowns. Whites are changing the racial makeup of these neighborhoods, but they also bring higher incomes and economic clout that long-term residents do not have.
The changes in the South Park neighborhood of Raleigh, North Carolina, highlight this new shift:
In South Park, a neighborhood with picturesque views of the Raleigh skyline, the white home buyers who have recently moved in have average incomes more than three times that of the typical household already here. Whites, who were largely absent in the neighborhood in 2000, made up 17 percent of the population by 2012. Since then, they’ve gotten nearly nine in 10 of the new mortgages.
What is happening in South Park and other neighborhoods in cities across the country is in contrast to the suburbs. "In the suburbs, a far different set of processes is driving the demographic change, as middle-class minority families seek more space or better schools, as immigrant communities take root, or as families are increasingly priced out of the city."
These suburban neighborhoods are diversifying, but the incomes of current and new residents are much more similar. The lack of extreme income disparities provides a type of stability and social cohesion that is not taking root in places such as South Park.
And in South Park, the economic differences related to race are readily apparent. The developer of a new food hall, for example, says he wants the adjacent grocery store to be accessible to lower-income residents, but some locals are wary. "The food hall is trying to signal that longtime neighbors are welcome, too — one painting inside shows a pair of African-American teenagers from the neighborhood — but they must walk past the new $700,000 rowhomes outside to get here."