Posted on September 23, 2009

‘Black Flight’ the New ‘White Flight’ in Detroit?

Jonathan Oosting,, Sept. 22, 2009

After decades of “white flight,” African Americans are now leaving Detroit at a higher rate than their white neighbors, according to estimates released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The total population estimate for the city fell to 912,062 in 2008, a .5 percent decrease from 2007, indicating that roughly 6,609 people live in each of Detroit’s 138 square miles.

Estimates for single-race African Americans fell 3.8 percent in 2008 to 643,200, according to the bureau’s American Community Survey data.

The estimated number single-race white residents remained virtually unchanged at 86,072.


“Black flight” has been a relatively consistent phenomenon in Detroit since the last official U.S. Census in 2000.

Regionally, the estimated number of African Americans in Wayne County dropped 9 percent since 2000, while Macomb and Oakland have both seen significant gains.