It’s the Money, Stupid

A fascinating article in Sunday’s New York Times deals with one of the subjects that is a frequent topic on this blog—housing patterns. Using demographic data from the Census Bureau and home lending data published as part of the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the reporters “identified every census tract in the country that has grown notably more racially diverse since 2000.”

They found a consistent nationwide trend of increased diversity. Affluent whites are moving into central city areas that have been populated by blacks for many generations and middle-class non-whites are moving into suburbs long the domain of white families. The authors posit that the movement of whites into the central cities is a result of several factors. The major factor they cite is historical disinvestment by society in those areas, which has made them ripe for reinvestment. Another factor is old housing stock that was approaching the end of its life.

This increased diversity is altering the nature of the communities affected. The primary finding highlighted in the story is that the non-whites moving into the suburbs blend into, or integrate, their new communities relatively seamlessly. However, that is not true for whites moving into the central cities. The reason is not racial tension, but economics. While the non-whites moving into the suburbs have incomes similar to the families already living there, the average incomes of the whites moving into the central city neighborhoods are significantly higher than those who have lived there for many years. It turns out people feel more comfortable associating with those on their same income level. (This is not really a surprise.)

The focus of the story is a changing traditional black section of Raleigh, N.C. But it just as well could be Richmond. The invaluable feature of the on-line story is an interactive map. By keying in an address or Zip Code, one can focus in on the change in racial diversity in any area of the country.

This story illustrates another topic discussed recently on this blog—the importance of newspapers. Few, if any, other news blogs or internet sources have the resources to gather, analyze, and put together data like this. In addition, it illustrates what newspapers can do when they learn to use digital technology to enhance their reporting, as the NYT and some others have done. As much as I like having an actual paper to read (I enjoyed an hour in the morning in the backyard with my tea and Sunday RTD), the physical version cannot give me an interactive map or a visual drive-by tour of a changing neighborhood.

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9 responses to “It’s the Money, Stupid

  1. There may be an oversimplification at work with Dick’s argument that: “However, that is not true for whites moving into the central cities. The reason is not racial tension, but economics.”

    Here, I suggest that increasing cultural tensions driven by racial and identity politics found in national and local politics and higher education may also be playing a growing roll in what is keeping people apart in the case of “whites moving into central city neighborhoods?”

    Below is the whole quote out of Dick’s post that characterizes the Sunday New York Times article that he links into his post:

    “The primary finding highlighted in the story is that the non-whites moving into the suburbs blend into, or integrate, their new communities relatively seamlessly. However, that is not true for whites moving into the central cities. The reason is not racial tension, but economics. While the non-whites moving into the suburbs have incomes similar to the families already living there, the average incomes of the whites moving into the central city neighborhoods are significantly higher than those who have lived there for many years. It turns out people feel more comfortable associating with those on their same income level.”

    It would be interesting to know how this is playing out in Charlottesville, not only its housing patterns but how the city functions, including the gross dysfunction in the city today.

    Indeed, in a closely related matter, contrary to the protestations of the Yale University president in his long Op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal challenging the recent opinion piece there by Heather Mac Donald, American Universities, including Yale University, appear to be trending toward de facto racial re-segregation on campus instead of diversity because of counter productive identity and diversity ideologies and policies being peddled and enforced at so many of our universities today. This is spreading off campus.

    This is also the subject of a new series of studies by the National Association of Scholars wherein NAS has just launched its first report of a series studying the history and growth of neo-segregation in American higher education. The first Report published just today April 29, 2019 is titled: REPORT: NEO-SEGREGATION AT YALE. That report is found at:

    https://www.nas.org/articles/separate_but_equal_again_neo_segregation_at_yale

    Given the enormous energy our American society today devotes to tearing itself apart into ever more fractious parts, pitting more and more groups, one against the other, it is no wonder that wealthier whites and their culture are appearing to be unwelcome and resisted in ever more lower income communities. While precisely the reverse is happening in wealthier white communities where all sorts of minorities are welcome, and blend in easily, so long as they can afford to live in those places. Equally telling is the most important fact of all, namely that people of all minority groups who are succeeding financially in America are happy and eager to move into more affluent communities that are predominately white and/or wealthy.

    In general, this supports the growing mountain of evidence that our political system of governance, particularly its polarized two party system, and our elite and selective universities in this arena are doing far more harm, than good, for some elements of our society, particularly those disadvantaged. poor.

    • For further information on yesterdays post shown above, see today’s featured opinion piece in the Wall Street Journey titled SEGREGATION BY DESIGN ON CAMPUS by Peter W. Wood, President of National Association of Scholars, and his research associate Dion J. Pierre, primary author of NAS’s new report, Separate by Equal, Again: Neo-Segregation in Higher Education.

    • Read Segregation By Design on Campus in today’s Wall Street Journal very carefully. Then read that article of opinion again, and yet again. Think about what it says. Consider carefully what Yale’s Kingman Brewster and his dean”Inky Clark” did to black students at Yale University beginning in 1964. Ponder the terrible results that followed in the wake of their ill considered actions.

      It you do that, meet that challenge, then you will realize that Teresa Sullivan as president of UVA did exactly the same thing to students at UVA over this decade with only one big difference. Sullivan built and whipped up toxic ideologies not only of racial hate, but also hate between genders, that poisoned a great university, and that in the process poisoned the town of Charlottlesville, Virginia. The wreckage is there for all of us to see today.

      Yet, even more remarkably, many of Virginia’s and the nation’s leaders today still celebrate the damage done to Charlottlesville and its great university, and they are still trying very hard to demagogue those toxic ideologies so as to position themselves to win yet another round of political elections by preaching hate, grievance, and intolerance of other peoples and other cultures, all for their own private political, social and financial advantage.

  2. Thanks Dick, good article!

    So I did read the article earlier and was trying to understand why – what they are describing on the white to central city – is not just gentrification.

    On the black to the suburbs – that’s changed because the law makes it harder to segregate new-built homes in the suburbs – at least outside the south.

    I’m not sure I count this as more “diverse” per se.. but will admit that we are seeing less “clumping” of race or culture in neighborhoods. Again, the law has caused some of this – but it has take decades for it to play out.

    People STILL don’t want to live in unsafe neighborhoods nor in neighborhoods with bad schools – and I guess some folks who “gentrify” can also afford non-public schools for their kids.

    • Of course, the article seemed to focus on millennials moving into central cities and they tend not to have children yet. It remains to be seen what they do when they start families.

  3. I don’t subscribe to the New York Times so I can’t read the base article. However, Dick’s summation seems to point to excuse making on the part of the Times. If you look at the political position of cities like DC you see that the in-migration of gentrifiers has not changed the extreme left leaning nature of DC. I assume the same is true of other cities in the same situation. To me that means the people moving into the cities are as liberal as the less affluent people they are displacing. Yet, in my observation, the cities are becoming more segregated. You can draw bright lines through DC or Chicago illustrating what neighborhoods are majority white and majority black. These same lines serve to indicate areas of high crime vs low crime. I’m also willing to bet that the gentrifiers who have children are not sending those kids to public schools. On the other hand, I’m willing to bet that the non-whites who move to the suburbs largely are willing to send their kids to public schools. Could the Times be trying to excuse modern day segregation and liberal racism as an issue of economics?

  4. As Reed points out, many colleges campuses are re-segregating (though for different reasons than they were segregated in the past). That’s a pathology of the Left. Back in mainstream America, outside the higher-ed hothouse, people are de-segregating. That strikes me a very good news.

  5. “This story illustrates another topic discussed recently on this blog—the importance of newspapers. Few, if any, other news blogs or internet sources have the resources to gather, analyze, and put together data like this. In addition, it illustrates what newspapers can do when they learn to use digital technology to enhance their reporting, as the NYT and some others have done. As much as I like having an actual paper to read (I enjoyed an hour in the morning in the backyard with my tea and Sunday RTD), the physical version cannot give me an interactive map or a visual drive-by tour of a changing neighborhood.”

    Bravo. I wish more newspapers could figure out a sustainable business model to produce quality journalism. I was hoping that micro payments of some sort (e.g., one click to pay a small fee to access each article) would have solved the business model by now. Alas, no.

    Thanks also for referencing the zip code box to look at other areas — I totally missed that the first time I read the article. Really fascinating analysis by the NYT.

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