In the idyllic (for some) years of Postwar 1950s America, thousands of American families chased the American Dream to planned communities outside major cities, and thus, the suburbs were born. Ever since, suburbia has in many ways been synonymous with middle class white culture in the United States, but that era might finally be coming to an end in the 21st century.
In short, the era of “White Flight” is dead and done.
In Diversity Explosion, author Bill Frey reports that although the suburbs are still growing in total population, white homeowners only make up a single-digit portion of the growth. From 2005 to 2010, 17.9 million Americans moved into suburbs, while 9.2 million moved away, a net increase of 8.8 million new residents. During the same time, 15.4 million Americans left big cities, while only 11 million moved in, for a net loss of almost 4 million.
Using the latest census data, Frey reports that white Americans are much more likely to be moving into large metro areas, while Americans with more diverse backgrounds have proven much more likely to find a new home in the suburbs.
In the first decade of the new millennium, white residents only made up 9% of population growth in America’s suburbs. And although cities like Dallas, Kansas City, and Detroit are seeing large white population growth in suburbs, the rest of the country is experiencing a “profound” reversal of 50 years’ worth of demographic trends.
Some cities are seeing population growth among white residents in both cities and suburbs. According to the latest numbers, those whitest cities in America are Portland, Seattle, and Austin. Otherwise, the Urban Institute reports that America as a whole will experience overall white population losses from coast to coast by 2030.
The Obama Administration is actively trying to solidify this move towards diversity. This July, the White House announced the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, which is designed to put an end to “historic patterns of segregation…and foster inclusive communities for all.”
Suburban communities that fail to encourage diversity will risk losing federal money.