A new study published by BuzzFeed shows an increasing rate of Black residents are being driven out of neighborhoods in the U.S. According to the data, Oakland, Washington D.C., Atlanta, New York City and Baltimore are among the cities that are especially impacted by gentrification.
In Oakland, the northeast city of Alameda County, one neighborhood showed an 86% increase in its white population and a 26% decrease in its Black population. According to the Urban Displacement Project, housing costs continued to rise from 2000 to 2015, while traditionally Black neighborhoods in Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley lost thousands of low-income Black households.
“Part of the reason that, for example, housing has become so expensive, is because we don’t build it,” state Sen. Nancy Skinner told The Mercury News. “I think now what we need to face is how do we get more housing and how do we get it quickly and how do we do our best to stop this displacement of our low-income residents.”
Last year, Skinner introduced Senate Bill 330, which aims to protect existing affordable units.
“We see rent increases but folks’ wages aren’t increasing, and we see folks having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet,” West Oakland native Alma Blackwell told The Mercury News. "Even families who have been living in Oakland or San Francisco for many decades, their social networks are disrupted, from even going to the same doctor for years or their schools or having friends in the neighborhood."
In DeKalb County, Georgia, the BuzzFeed study showed a neighborhood with a 41% increase in white residents and a 50% decrease in Black residents. According to 11 Alive, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution in September to provide tax relief for people in danger of losing their homes.
The resolution "requests the Atlanta Board of Education and Fulton County Board of Commissioners to jointly work with the City of Atlanta to propose a tax relief program to protect long-time senior property owners from increasing property taxes." According to the resolution, the average home value in Atlanta has increased from $126,000 in 2000 to $290,000 in 2018, making it one of the most rapidly gentrifying cities in the U.S.
In New York, Brooklyn and northern Manhattan are the areas which are especially impacted by gentrification, BuzzFeed reported. According to the Furman Center at New York University, the Black population in the New York district of Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights decreased from 41.8% in 2000 to 25.8% in 2017.
In Washington D.C., 75% of the low-income populations in the neighborhoods of Kingman Park and Capitol Hill have vanished, The Washington Post reported.
“Since 2000, the same neighborhoods have seen overall population growth of 19 percent, and white population growth of a staggering 202 percent,” researchers wrote. “A huge swath of the city is experiencing gentrification and displacement, stretching from Logan Circle to Petworth, and including neighborhoods like Shaw and Columbia Heights.”
Baltimore is named as one of the seven cities that accounted for almost half of the country’s gentrification between 2000 and 2013. Researchers said Baltimore saw some displacement of minority residents because of gentrification but also experienced some displacement of white residents.
“What stands out with Baltimore compared to other areas is that most of what gentrified ... was mostly areas that were already white,” researcher Jason Richardson told The Baltimore Sun. “There was a very limited amount of black displacement just because black neighborhoods weren’t gentrified.”
Richardson said Baltimore has a "problem of not enough money going into the areas that really need it.”
“It’s probably due to kind of a long history of segregation in Baltimore, but also the real lack of investment in Baltimore compared to other areas,” he said.