African Americans moving South
In the early part of the twentieth century, a large number of African Americans migrated to the northern states to escape racism and prejudice in the South, as well as to seek jobs in industrial cities. As a result of this migration, African Americans became n urbanized population, with more than 75 percent living in cities.
A reverse migration has gathered has since gathered strength.
A new U.S. Census Bureau reports show the African American population in the last decade has grown fastest in the South and certain Western states such as Arizona and Nevada, but only moderately in California.
The population drops have been dramatic in places such as San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. Oakland, has lost 23 percent of its black population since 2000, one of the biggest drops nationwide.
As California’s population grew by 10 percent in the last decade, its black population rose by just 170,873, or 6.8 percent. The numbers count all people who identify themselves as black, including those who also claim another race.
It was a more dramatic change for urban California: Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and San Diego were among the 12 cities nationwide with the largest black population losses. Smaller cities in the Bay Area also had significant shifts. Richmond’s black population dropped by 23 percent, Berkeley’s by 20 percent, Daly City’s by 24 percent and East Palo Alto’s by 31 percent.
As blacks moved out of traditional African-American hubs, they have been replaced by whites in some Bay Area neighborhoods and Latinos and Asian-Americans in many others.
One of the major findings from the 2010 census was the widespread decline of black populations in cities across the country. More blacks are moving to the suburbs, but there’s an increasing draw back to the South.
Fifty-five percent of all African-Americans live in the South, up from 53.6 percent a decade earlier, according to the census report released Thursday. Part of that movement is for cheaper housing, but kinship ties and cultural connections also play a role.
New South cities have booming economies, at least until very recently, and cultural ties. The black population is prominent and part of the middle class.
California is also distinct from most southern states in another way, according to the report on the U.S. black population released by the Census Bureau on Thursday: It has the largest number of people, about 385,000 — and a high proportion who identify both as black and some other race.
Nationwide, the number of people who identify their race as both black and white more than doubled from 785,000 in 2000 to 1.8 million in 2010. Demographers believe the increase is partly due to a greater number of mixed-race people and partly due to changes in the way people choose to identify themselves on the census.
Cities with largest black population losses, 2000 to 2010
1. Detroit: -185,393
2. Chicago: -181,453
3. New York: -100,859
4. Los Angeles: -54,606
5. Washington, D.C.: -39,035
6. Oakland: -33,502
7. Cleveland: -33,304
8. Atlanta: -29,746
9. Baltimore: -24,071
10. San Francisco: -12,010
Source: Brookings Institution