Non-white neighborhoods have a lot to offer: rent is generally cheaper, there’s tons of ethnic food choices, and hip cafes and bars have started popping up as well.
Because of this, young white people have been moving into these neighborhoods in increasing numbers, and according to a new University of California study, pushing out the minorities that have lived there for decades.
Of course, we all kind of knew this, but having some hard data to back it up is a little sobering.
The study analyzed data from 1990–2010 in 380 census metropolitan areas across the United States and found that nationally, 'neighborhood ascent' (a less politicized term for gentrification) results in racial or ethnic change.
25% of the neighborhoods were categorized as ascending, meaning income levels of residents, and the number of white collar jobs, went up. Among these, the racial majority changed in almost one third of minority neighborhoods on the rise.
However, in neighborhoods that weren’t on the rise, only 1% of the neighborhoods became mostly white, and in many of them, the number of white residents actually declined.
In other words, when white neighborhoods get richer, they stay white, and when minority neighborhoods do the same, the white population grows.
The researchers say this is a difficult problem that policy makers face; how do you invest in neighborhoods without changing the racial makeup? Only future studies will tell.