The Great ‘Reverse’ Migration May Be Disastrous for Many Northern Cities and States


Between 1916 and 1970, more than six million African-Americans migrated northward to work in factories and live in cities across the Northeast and Midwest. Today, there is mounting evidence that this great migration has reversed itself, as those who can afford to are moving back south in greater and greater numbers.
While some of the reasons for this reversal can be attributed to better job opportunities, retirements, and preferences to be closer to relatives, sadly a fourth and ironic factor has to be considered – the abundance of segregated cities and increased racism found in those states that once fought to end slavery. This can be seen from both an economic opportunity perspective, as well as from the geography of prejudices being depicted by segregation in urban areas.
The following list clearly shows that the ten best metropolitan areas for African-American job opportunities can all be found south of the Mason-Dixon Line. When employment and advancement opportunities are lacking in the North for African-Americans, then why stay if you don’t have to?

1. Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA

3. Austin, TX

4. Baltimore, MD

5. Raleigh, NC

6. Charlotte, NC

7. San Antonio, TX

8. Houston, TX

9. Miami, FL

10. Richmond, VA

Secondly, the following map depicts the sad state of affairs for social equity and justice in many northern cities, as nine (9) of ten (10) of the most segregated metros in the nation are in the North. Not only is segregation immoral, but devastatingly harmful to the economic well-being of the cities that are being abandoned. Many northern cities/states are literally shooting themselves in the foot by not combating segregation and racism more forcefully.
How and why many locales in the North have turned into such unwelcoming places for African-Americans is not entirely clear, but the results are very evident. Causes could include:
  • More welcoming and inclusive residents have moved elsewhere for retirement and jobs, leaving behind a greater percentage of those who harbor prejudicial feelings.
  • Pent up anger leftover from factory closings, downsizing, job displacement, and economic malaise.
  • Brain drain of the young – semi-related to the first reason.
  • Growth of alt-right media, politics, and hate groups.
  • Prolonged and entrenched resistance to change or new ideas.
  • Lack of exposure to other cultures and ethnic groups, particularly in smaller cities and rural areas.
Regardless of the reasons, states, counties, and municipalities across the Northeast and Midwest need to accelerate their efforts to stem the tide of this migration by addressing gross inequities in policies, laws, justice, economics, and commerce, or face a bleaker and bleaker future. By thwarting opportunities for resident African-Americans, as well as immigrants, stagnation and decline are a likely result in many areas. Communities absolutely need the influx of new blood and new ideas to grow in population and thrive both economically and culturally.
Here are examples of why inclusivity is important beyond the obvious fact that being a friendly and welcoming community is simply the right thing to do:
  • “More than one-third (35.5 percent) of U.S. innovators were born outside the United States, even though this population makes up just 13.5 percent of all U.S. residents.”itig.org
  • “Immigrants born in Europe or Asia are more than five times as likely as the average native-born U.S. citizen to have created an innovation in America.”itif.org
  • “Other demographic segments have identified Blacks as a driving force for popular culture, with 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics who believe Blacks influence mainstream American culture.”blackentrepreneur.com
  • “The reverse migration continues as younger, college-educated Black professionals head South. Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to develop a ‘southern strategy’ to connect with the more than 10 million African-Americans in 10 key southern markets.”blackentrepreneur.com

It is long past time for the general citizenry, as well as cities and states in the North to wake up and stand up for what is right! Challenge those who promote hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and racism in any form – including politicians…or family and friends. Every person on this planet is equal regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, orientation, or spiritual belief – no ifs, ands, or buts. It is not debatable! Peace.

6/11/18 Update – Today’s Supreme Court decision on a voter roll law from Ohio is an example of the kinds of actions that help spur African-American migration out of Midwest and Northeast.

If the Great Migration is of interest to you, here are visual links to two (2) books on the topic that are available on Amazon.

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This entry was posted in Advocacy, cities, civics, Civil Rights, civility, culture, demographics, economic development, economic gardening, Economy, education, entrepreneurship, family, geography, government, history, Housing, humanity, immigration, inclusiveness, planning, politics, poverty, social equity, Statistics, urban planning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Great ‘Reverse’ Migration May Be Disastrous for Many Northern Cities and States

  1. DJ says:

    “Growth of right-wing media, politics, and hate groups”.
    I would love to see statistics for this. Also, what is right-wing media? And should right-wing be knee-jerk tied to hate groups? I am not making a right wing rant. I just wish these kind of gross assumptions should be saved for your favorite internet political site, not in a professional piece.

    Like

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