Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sacramento - Here are 5 surprising cities where gentrification and low wages are pushing out the poor

Here are 5 surprising cities where gentrification and low wages are pushing out the poor:

Here are 5 surprising cities where gentrification and low wages are pushing out the poor

lk down once-gritty neighborhood streets in many American cities and the telltale signs may be all around you. The coffee bar on the corner selling $5 latte macchiatos. The high-rise luxury condo building going up at record speed. The cocktail bar, the artisan pastry shop.
This is urban gentrification in action, the process by which middle- and upper-middle-class populations move into formerly lower-income neighborhoods, attracted by cheaper housing (and fleeing expensive housing in more affluent areas), transforming the area, driving costs up and forcing lower-income residents out. Nationwide, the percentage of rental increases have been double the percentage of wage increases, and according to a Macarthur Foundation report, renters are compensating by taking second jobs or running up debt by paying other expenses on their credit cards.
Surprisingly, a study in 2015 by Governing Magazine found that gentrification, as a national problem, is actually less pervasive than portrayed in the media. Focusing on neighborhoods whose median income and median home value from the 2000 Census was in the 40th percentile of all neighborhoods in the cities studied, results showed that only 8% of neighborhoods nationwide have experienced significant gentrification. A stroll down the less affluent streets of cities like Las Vegas, Rochester and El Paso would confirm that fact.
In nine out of 10 cities, gentrification has been almost nonexistent. Even in Detroit, where hipster artists are supposedly a vanguard of urban renewal, gentrification is not particularly widespread (less than 3% of the neighborhoods have gentrified).
However, the study did show that 20% of neighborhoods in America’s 50 largest cities were experiencing significant gentrification, with housing costs rising and poor residents being driven out. In these gentrified neighborhoods, the overall population has increased, and in particular, the white, non-Hispanic population has increased by an average of 4.3%. The poverty rate in these neighborhoods has declined. In comparison, non-gentrified neighborhoods have experienced lower overall populations, an increase in non-white residents, a decreased white, non-Hispanic population, and an increase in poverty by almost 7%. In stark terms, one in five neighborhoods is getting whiter and richer, while the majority of the studied neighborhoods are getting darker and poorer.
If there is a Ground Zero of American gentrification, Portland, Oregon would be the place. Already the whitest city in the United States, almost 60% of Portland’s lower cost neighborhoods have experienced gentrification since the 2000 Census. Northeast Portland in particular has been a destination for young professionals since the 1990s, and several formerly African-American neighborhoods have been transformed, becoming whiter and more affluent and forcing former residents to the fringes of the city. With incomes remaining flat over the last decade, and rents rising (more than 15% in 2015) as professionals flock to the city, a housing crisis looms in Portland, with a vacancy rate of only 3%, one of the country’s lowest. Houses too have increased in price, by 10% in 2015. Not far behind Portland in the gentrification race are Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, and Denver.
The aforementioned cities have been routinely cited as major centers of gentrification, but there are some surprising entrants in the gentrification race, urban centers where housing costs are also creating a crisis for poor residents. If you are thinking of moving here, you may want to make sure the bank account is solid.
1. Austin, Texas
While it is not entirely surprising that the bar-laden, rock ‘n rollin’ college town of Austin would be a destination for an affluent segment of the population, the numbers are pretty staggering. Between 2000 and 2010, the African-American population around the city’s historically black Huston Tillotson University has fallen by 60%. The Latino population has declined by 33%. Meanwhile the white population has increased by a whopping 442%. Fred McGhee, an urban and environmental anthropologist, told the Texas Observer, in regards to Austin urban planning, “The drop in African Americans was not an accident. The number one gentrifier in the city is the city itself.” Once literally known as the Negro District, the area is now 40% white, and the black residents are being increasingly priced out of the market. Condos and apartment buildings are popping up everywhere, driving up rents and house prices as developers cash in on the area’s trendiness. Rents in Austin are up by 7.5% year to year, averaging now around $1200 a month. Millennials relocating to the city are taken aback. “They arrive expecting to apples-to-apples between a city like Denver and Austin, and it’s an eye-opener and reality check,” Jim Gattis, a real estate agent, told the Austin American-Statesman. “At first they want to live in Central Austin, and then it’s ‘Holy cow, I can’t afford anywhere in Austin.’”
2. Sacramento, California
Thirty percent of Sacramento’s poor neighborhoods are gentrifying, and black neighborhoods like Oak Park are seeing the effects. Businesses catering to African-Here are 5 surprising cities where gentrification and low wages are pushing out the poor:

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