Detroit winning back White People?

According to this random link on city-data, Detroit has lured nearly 21,000 white people back to the city since 2000.

I have never heard anything about this before. Does anyone a little closer to the situation in Detroit have any evidence that this is true? The information is based on the Census’ American Community Survey estimates, which are sometimes suspect.

Does anyone from Detroit have any possible explanations? Just curious. If this is true, it’s important.

-A.S.

13 Comments

Filed under Race Relations, sprawl

13 responses to “Detroit winning back White People?

  1. schmange

    If it is black people leaving, why would they suddenly be moving at a greater rate than whites? And how could the increase be so great without some gain in white population? I’m scratching my head.

  2. schmange

    Wait no, it couldn’t be blacks leaving faster, if the numbers are correct because it shows a net gain in white people.

  3. Minnesotan

    The Census Bureau knows their ACS estimates for Detroit are particularly bad.

  4. As a white person who grew up in Metro Detroit and graduated from Michigan (in France for the year before potentially moving to Detroit), I can say that more of the people I know from school are moving to Detroit after graduation. I suspect that it relates to the lack of opportunities in usual magnet cities (e.g., Chicago, New York) right now compared to before the recession. With the low cost of living and bargain-basement house prices, Detroit is a good option for people like my friends who are talented and ambitious because they can afford to do things there that they cannot in other places. And with the greatly reduced opportunity cost of forgoing Chicago, Detroit becomes less of a stretch. People can justify taking the risks involved in trying out their business or creative ideas because many of the lucrative jobs just don’t exist, and Detroit makes start-up money stretch further.

    Of course, that’s based on anecdotal evidence, my desire, and hope. A potentially more probable explanation is that people who got booted from their foreclosed houses in the suburbs decided to move into the city to take advantage of the cheap house prices. Or that the numbers aren’t good, as other commenters have suggested.

  5. The ACS is not the source of record for population estimates data, the Population Estimates program is. However, I don’t believe the popest program provides race data at the municipality level, only the county level, so ACS may be the best we’ve got. The ACS survey has been known to have issues in Detroit. The gap in total population between it and the popest data was quite high. Plus there’s a pretty significant margin of error on the data. Having said that, I’d have to say you can still feel pretty good to see positive movement in the data. We’ll find out for sure in a month when Census 2010 is released.

  6. schmange

    I still can’t believe the population was only 10 percent white in 2000. Detroit is such an extreme example of what’s wrong with the rest of our cities. It’s interesting.

  7. Minnesotan

    The Less Government people would like you to be happy with your windshield survey estimates of the demographic characteristics of the population of Detroit. Are all of us waiting for better statistics from the More Government people? Word from the East Coast is that the ACS is coming under new management. But our statistics store hasn’t hung out the Under New Management sign. The Census Bureau is less service-minded than organized crime. And nearly as secretive.

  8. Here’s a map of segregation in Metro Detroit from the 2000 Census. It is pretty shocking to see the actual numbers.

  9. Sean Posey

    I’d very much like to believe these numbers. However, experience makes me pause. We know that study after has shown ( For an especially frank discussion of this see Andrew Hacker, 1992) that once a neighborhood reaches about eight percent black, whites will move. Black majority cities are especially avoided by whites. So it’s hard to image that many whites will return to Detroit–especially given its contentious racial history.

  10. Tom

    It’s pretty hard to believe that anyone is moving back to this city. For the most part it seems to be melting (burning) into oblivion. The pace of abandonment and subsequent destruction of buildings makes it particularly difficult to see how things will change. Who can afford the risk of building anything in that environment? It would take a major effort on the part of the government to turn things around. That would mean abandoning the war on terrorism and taking up the war on despair.

  11. Dylan B

    I moved here and love it. Biking is better here than the burbs because:

    1. the drivers are less likely to be entitled brats who would have me ride on the sidewalk so they could drive their car there.
    2. we have 8 lane blvds everywhere that are at half capacity.
    3. there are more bikers around anyway.

    I’m also aware that most black people, contrary to what people in the burbs chew your ear off trying to convince you, are normal people who living their lives. Really. I hear when I go to the burbs that everyone is unemployed, gun wielding, crackheads who will steal everything I own. So deeply rooted is this fear that several east side communities don’t think twice about having “residents-only” park policies where in my experience only black or brown people are carded.

    I also love the many libraries, the cultural institutions, the random Europeans who come here to check it out/make art/movies, the music, the silly events, and the night life.

    The jazz clubs, soul food, random conversations, random solicitations from drug dealers, many parades, festivals. The start ups. The restaurants.

    Sure the city needs to fix sidewalks, lights, build transit, implement recycling, and fix up parks. Otherwise I think it’s alright. If I lived in another neighborhood I would probably also prioritize greater police response, but really a concerted effort to eliminate poverty through greater welfare programs and access to education in conjunction with programs encouraging entrepreneurship would be more effective.

    • schmange

      I’m also aware that most black people, contrary to what people in the burbs chew your ear off trying to convince you, are normal people who living their lives. Really. I hear when I go to the burbs that everyone is unemployed, gun wielding, crackheads who will steal everything I own.

      Cosign!

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