‘The New Migration’: What’s Behind Black People Leaving Traditional Urban Cities?

What were once traditional hubs of a bustling Black populations, urban metropolitan areas like Chicago, Detroit, New York, and even Washington, D.C., are seeing drops in their Black populations over the past two decades, according to the latest census data. One possible reason behind the population shift is a modern-day migration of Black people leaving urban cities for the suburbs for better economic opportunities.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Research and marketing firm Development Counsellors International, or DCI, may have an explanation for the population shift after it combed through census data. It identified nine U.S. cities or metro areas that all have initiatives of some kind specifically targeting Black people to make a move.

The cities include Tulsa, Oklahoma, Fargo, North Dakota, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Cincinnati, Ohio, Charleston, South Carolina, Carolina Core, North Carolina (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point metro area). Some of the cities listed have seen growth in their Black populations while others remained steady, and a few cities saw slight drops.

“Our goal is wanting to make sure Blacks can benefit from the economic growth. This definitely gave us an opportunity to shine a light on rising cities that are taking major steps to elevate the Black community so that’s through career opportunities, and the overall quality of life,” said Symeria Palmer, DCI Account Manager.

In Tulsa, Arthur Jackson, 39, moved to the city a little less than a year ago to work for the local Chamber. Tulsa is using incentives to attract people include new remote tech-related jobs and programs like Tulsa Remote which pays $10,000 for people to move into the city. The program is funded by the George Kaiser Foundation and administered by the city and other local organizations.

“Originally, it was $10,000 grant to move there, and the stipulation is you have to stay a year,” Jackson said of the Remote Tulsa program.

In Charleston, Boeing’s manufacturing plant wants to increase its Black workforce by 20 Percent over the next five years. In Cincinnati, its minority business accelerator program helped 70 Black-owned businesses flourish in recent years creating 3,500 jobs.

“Cincinnati for example, they have the minority business development program which has served as a national model for development of minority owned businesses,” Palmer said.

Read full story at Atlanta Black Star here.

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