Census: Blacks Are Moving to the South

Lorraine Ahearn, News-Record (Greensboro, North Carolina, March 22, 2009

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Both North and South Carolina were among the top 10 “influx” states gaining in African American migration from 1995 to 2000, according to Brookings Institution scholar William H. Frey’s analysis of the 2000 U.S. Census. And cities such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles lost black residents in significant numbers for the first time in the 20th century.

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According to the last census, the emigration from the North and California had doubled the 1990 census, which had tripled the 1980 numbers. Bottom line? From 1975 to 2000, the Northeast, Midwest and West lost 800,000 black residents to emigration; and of those, about 635,400 moved to the South.

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The South is luring Northerners of all stripes–black, white, Asian and Hispanic–for economic reasons that include lower housing costs and property taxes and more affordable college tuition.

But for African Americans in particular, there is also a historical layer in the migration. The choice of cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte and Greensboro for well-educated African Americans such as N.C. A&T business professor Olenda Johnson is creating a new professional and middle class.

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