U.S. Census: Blacks Flee Cities for Suburbs
Barrington M. Salmon | , WI Staff Writer | 2/6/2012, 8:51 p.m.
Johnson, a faculty associate at the Maryland Population Research Center, cited statistics which indicate that the number of blacks with bachelor's degrees rose 4 percent between 2000 and 2010, while the number of blacks earning advanced degrees in that same time period moved from 950,000 to 1.5 million.
Despite the changes in demography, Patricia A. Coulter, president of the Urban League of Philadelphia, said blacks still make up the largest ethnic group with 640,000 people which represents a 1 percent decline in the past 10 years.
"What we're seeing is sort of urban-rural," she said. "People are moving but still call for services. We're not so driven by a specific neighborhood. We're in the Center City but we can counsel or cater to people across the city."
Coulter said her agency is working closely with young people who have dropped out of school. They are encouraged to complete at least a high school education and are also trained for entry-level and other jobs. She said the Urban League is also working with small business owners and entrepreneurs as more blacks start their own businesses.
Hunting High and Low for a Decent Job
Margaret Simms, a fellow at the Urban Institute and a nationally recognized authority on the economic well-being of African Americans, cited a soon-to-be released study on the 100 best places to live based on residential segregation, neighborhood attitudes, and the quality of public schools, employment opportunities and home ownership. "Data suggests that the top 10 cities blacks are moving to are not promising in terms of the availability of jobs," she said.
"Job growth has decreased. We need to be concerned for the black community and the nation as a whole," said Simms. "If we cannot provide opportunities in these metro areas, the nation will not move forward at the speed it should."
She said there's a growing gap in the black population (between blacks and other races) since lower educational skills translate into fewer job opportunities.
"Moving to the suburbs doesn't necessarily mean people are moving to better jobs. They are moving to poorer communities," said Simms.
In the Washington metropolitan region, for example, Simms said, jobs are far from where people live. Currently, a high concentration of black residents exists in Wards 7 and 8 and Prince George's County, east of the District, but the "good jobs" are west of the city, she said.
Simms echoed sentiments expressed by panelist Roderick J. Harrison, Ph.D., that business and entrepreneurship alone in the black community will not close the wealth-income gap between blacks and whites.
Harrison, a researcher with Howard University and a senior fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Northwest, said there is one dominant myth that needs to be dispelled about the availability of jobs and related issues.
"It is a myth that jobs and opportunities are out there if only we got an education," he said. "Employers hire if there is a demand for products. They will hire if they need the labor to make a product to sell here or overseas."