Editor’s Note: In an interview with NBC Nightly News, William Frey discusses a migration shift among African Americans, many of whom are leaving Rust Belt cities and heading to the southern United States.
William Frey: The new Census results show something pretty astounding for cities. And that is when we look at the cities that have the highest concentrations of African Americans, more than half of them are showing declines in the populations of those African Americans.
The biggest decline is in the city of Chicago, perhaps the preeminent magnet for blacks who left the South, for decades, to come to the North. In the last decade, Chicago lost 180,000 blacks.
The suburbs represent, to a lot of people, getting that brass ring – moving into the middle class, being part of a community that has good resources, good schools, has some status associated with it. It’s much different than they what they used to think of – living in segregated, highly concentrated city neighborhoods that maybe their parents were living in, or maybe their grandparents were living in.