In the Great Migration from 1916 to 1970, millions of blacks left the segregated South to explore opportunities in the Midwest, mainly Chicago.
Now, Chicago has witnessed a decline of 17 percent of its black residents when compared to the 2000 U.S. Census.
Could crime, corruption and cost be factors that sparked this wave of black flight?
Gentrification may be pricing upwardly mobile blacks out of the city limits, and, with the demolition of the Chicago housing projects, relocation appears to be the only option.
Black and Hispanic populations are relocating to Illinois’ outlying suburbs and out of the state, according to Aaron M. Renn of The Urbanophile. Renn explains that a majority of Chicago’s black population is heading to Atlanta.
“Indeed, the black-only population plunged by 177,401 as blacks increasingly moved to the [Illinois] suburbs, especially southern ones like Matteson, Lansing, Calumet City, Park Forest, and Richton Park, each of which added thousands of new black residents. Some indications are that a significant number of black residents left the region altogether. The traditional black magnet of Atlanta – which struggled through much of the decade – was a top five destination for people leaving Chicagoland over the past decade, and Chicago was the No. 2 source of in-migrants to Memphis, another black hub, according to IRS data.”
Crain’s Chicago Business journalist Greg Hinz warns elitists who may be happy to see the exodus of blacks of “brain drain,” if the black flight continues.
“Though I’m sure a few racists out there will applaud the reduction in Chicago’s black population — they all live in public housing and are unemployed, don’t you know? — consider this: People who actually pick up and move are motivated. And it may be that a high percentage of those doing the moving aren’t public wards but talented, skilled folks in search of a better life — the kind of folks any sane community wants.”
Approximately 75 percent of the black population has relocated to Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, N.C., and Miami since 2000.
Currently, nearly 60 percent of all blacks reside in the South. –zondra hughes