Demographic Shift as Minorities Move to Suburbs

The Times has two interesting articles based on the latest data dump from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The first article looks at local trends, and finds that

Metropolitan New York is being rapidly reshaped as blacks, Latinos, Asians and immigrants surge into the suburbs, while gentrification by whites is widening the income gap in neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn

Neither trend is particularly surprising if you’ve been paying attention. Inner suburbs, like Nassau County on Long Island or Fairfax County, Virginia, have been seeing large influxes of minorities – Asian and Hispanic in particular. Outer exburbs – Orange County, NY, for instance – have also been seeing large increases in minority population. This trend – and some of its implications – is explained much better in the Times’ second article, which focuses on national trends.

Locally, the Times picks up on the countervailing trend of gentrification by whites – again, no surprise to anyone who has lived in Williamsburg, Greenpoint or Bushwick (to name but three of many impacted Brooklyn neighborhoods). The accompanying maps show that the Hispanic population in Williamsburg has gone from 40% to 30% over the past decade. What it doesn’t say is how much of that shift is displacement and how much is a general increase in the non-Hispanic population while the Hispanic population remains flat or rises at a slower rate. I suspect it is some of both, but need to spend some time with the numbers behind the survey (this will also be illuminated much more clearly when the Census Bureau releases its 2010 numbers – what we are looking at right now is an annual sample survey, not a straight count of all bodies).