Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Death of America's Suburban Dream

From The Guardian:
This pattern of “white flight” to the suburbs was characteristic of American metro areas until the 1970s and 1980s, when newer suburbs – bigger, more spacious, more contemporary – began stealing residents away from the older inner-ring suburbs. And by the 1990s, more minorities were beginning to follow the same aspirational path as the former white city dwellers before them. Just as previous generations did, minorities sought larger homes, quieter environments and better schools. And white residents who craved insulation from the perils of urban living now saw it coming to their front lawns – again.

The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have brought this tension into sharp focus. Ferguson, an inner-ring suburb about 10 miles northwest of St Louis, was a city in transition long before officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. In 1990, three-quarters of Ferguson’s 22,000 residents were white; just 20 years later, by 2010, nearly three-quarters of them were black. These two groups of Fergusonians share little in common. In 2012, the median age of white residents in Ferguson was nearly 49; for black residents, it was only 29. The median household income of whites was nearly $52,000; for blacks, less than $30,000. The story of Ferguson is truly a tale of two suburbs. (Read more.)

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