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Old 09-23-2017, 08:53 AM
 
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There is a common narrative that the decline of cities came about because white people left the cities to self segregate from black people. However, in some cases this doesn't make much sense.
Providence, RI was 3% black when it started losing population, by 1970, Providence was 8% Black. That was the point 70,000 people had left a city with marginal Black population. Even today Providence is about 15% black. Minneapolis was similar after losing 100,000, its black population was at 4.4% in 1970.

Now I know that places like Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Buffalo, lost much more of their populations and had a higher black population, but for the most part those metros suffered worse as well, so many of those people left the region as a whole. But their cities, particularly Detroit suffered worse proportionally to their metro than any other, and heavily white Pittsburgh did the best in city proper vs metro population loss within the Rust belt and that's not a coincidence.

I understand there was redlining and thing that stopped black people from moving into the suburbs, but I'm not so sure individual racism was the prime contributor to suburbanization like some urban activists claim, because cities that were as white as the suburbs people were moving too still lost 30% or so of their population.
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Old 09-23-2017, 09:13 AM
 
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Push and pull. Reaction to black people and to poor people. Reaction to noise, crime, other environmental factors. Worry about property values and rising taxes. Attraction of new houses, new schools, higher status opportunities. Government backed roads made suburbs possible and attractive to the mass of people. Government backed discrimination made mortgage loans unavailable in older city neighborhoods and available only to whites in the new suburbs of the 1940s 50s and 60s. Lots of factors.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
Push and pull. Reaction to black people and to poor people. Reaction to noise, crime, other environmental factors. Worry about property values and rising taxes. Attraction of new houses, new schools, higher status opportunities. Government backed roads made suburbs possible and attractive to the mass of people. Government backed discrimination made mortgage loans unavailable in older city neighborhoods and available only to whites in the new suburbs of the 1940s 50s and 60s. Lots of factors.
This. I'm sure wealthy blacks fled the cities as well, since the American dream was then newly defined as a car, several kids and a white picket fence. Not to downplay the huge factor race played, but it wasn't the sole one.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
There is a common narrative that the decline of cities came about because white people left the cities to self segregate from black people. However, in some cases this doesn't make much sense.
Providence, RI was 3% black when it started losing population, by 1970, Providence was 8% Black. That was the point 70,000 people had left a city with marginal Black population. Even today Providence is about 15% black. Minneapolis was similar after losing 100,000, its black population was at 4.4% in 1970.

Now I know that places like Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Buffalo, lost much more of their populations and had a higher black population, but for the most part those metros suffered worse as well, so many of those people left the region as a whole. But their cities, particularly Detroit suffered worse proportionally to their metro than any other, and heavily white Pittsburgh did the best in city proper vs metro population loss within the Rust belt and that's not a coincidence.

I understand there was redlining and thing that stopped black people from moving into the suburbs, but I'm not so sure individual racism was the prime contributor to suburbanization like some urban activists claim, because cities that were as white as the suburbs people were moving too still lost 30% or so of their population.
I think your conflating population loss due to deindustrialization, which decimated entire metro populations, with white flight, which impacted inner-city population and demographics. White flight was very real and especially impactful because it stripped cities of their middle class. Not only was white flight in a role in suburbanization, as blacks begin to move to the suburbs, white flight drove exurbanization. Looking at any major cities demographics before and after school integration tells the tale.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:26 AM
 
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There's also the initial disparity in how the G.I. Bill was given out. That allowed Veterans to get an education and in turn, be able to live in the suburbs, which were built in response to a housing shortage within cities. This is something that gets grossly overlooked. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/...merica/507512/


A critical look at the GI Bill’s impact - The Boston Globe


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa..._the_G.I._Bill

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 09-23-2017 at 11:35 AM..
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:26 AM
 
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One less-discussed factor is that by the late 1940s, cities had gone through 20 years of very little investment or maintenance aside from New Deal projects (in the 30s) and war-related industry (early 40s). There wasn't the pervasive "newness" (renovated or new) we see today in successful cities. The suburbs were the anti-city -- clean, shiny, and new, at least for a while.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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My impression is that, broadly speaking, suburbanization from 1945 to the early 1960s not mainly driven by white flight, but by urban overcrowding, pollution, and other factors. Black people were practically speaking excluded from moving to the suburbs even if they had enough money to do so by redlining and other racist policies, but white people were moving to the suburbs mainly because the suburbs were seen as being great, not because the city was seen as being terrible.

This changed once the urban riots era started in around 1964. Then there really was "rush to the exits" in virtually every core city in the country, which continued at a high pace for a full generation.
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
I think your conflating population loss due to deindustrialization, which decimated entire metro populations, with white flight, which impacted inner-city population and demographics. White flight was very real and especially impactful because it stripped cities of their middle class. Not only was white flight in a role in suburbanization, as blacks begin to move to the suburbs, white flight drove exurbanization. Looking at any major cities demographics before and after school integration tells the tale.
but it seems cities like Providence or Minneapolis that logically had white flight due to self segregation lost similar amounts of people to Philly or Chicago.

I get that racism had something to do with it, but lots of people seem to think its was the primary driver, when it seems like it wasn't central, not saying it wasn't an important factor, but perhaps not the driving factor.
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Old 09-23-2017, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Living rent free in your head
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
but it seems cities like Providence or Minneapolis that logically had white flight due to self segregation lost similar amounts of people to Philly or Chicago.

I get that racism had something to do with it, but lots of people seem to think its was the primary driver, when it seems like it wasn't central, not saying it wasn't an important factor, but perhaps not the driving factor.
Race was the primary driver of white flight when I was a kid living in Richmond California a gritty industrial suburb of San Francisco. I wrote about 4 paragraphs here outlining the history of racial issues and white flight in Richmond and then decided that no one would probably read it (too many words). So instead I'll simply share an article about a black family who bought a home in an all white subdivision in 1952. The location was Rollingwood which was one of the first places white families fled to after blacks began buying homes in central Richmond

http://www.jovankabeckles.net/GARYSTORY.pdf
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Old 09-23-2017, 01:41 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
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I was a little kid back then and the reason we and other people moved out of the city was mostly due to having cars. We moved to an old house in a suburb, so with my family it wasn't about new houses, mostly about the new emphasis on roads and being able to drive to everything instead of walking.

I hated my new town and missed my city friends. But my dad was much closer to his job and my mom didn't have to go on foot to the little corner grocery store anymore. Now she could jump in the car and drive to a big supermarket with a large parking lot. Post-war, families were starting to grow and with more kids, that would have been an awful lot of groceries to carry home.

It was about change in lifestyle more than anything else. Cities were also getting run down while suburbs were well kept.
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