Report: NYC's black middle class shrinking; wealthy whites moving into racially diverse areas

Associated Press

New York City's black middle-class population has shrunk in recent years, according to a demographic analysis that shows neighborhoods that were solidly upper-middle-income now containing an increased number of lower-income households.

The analysis was part of a report issued Wednesday by the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, a group that deals with neighborhood and housing issues. The organization created an interactive map to showcase its findings.

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The map makes the changes of the last decade in the middle-class black population clear in places like the Queens neighborhoods of Hollis, St. Albans and South Ozone Park, where what was an unbroken swath of majority upper-middle-income black households now has majority lower-income black households staking more ground. The council said the city's black middle class declined 18 percent in that decade, compared to a drop of 5 percent for the city's overall black population.

Other trends highlighted in the report include:

— in 2010, the largest cluster was low-income Hispanics, with over 1 million residents. The overall Hispanic population of New York City grew 8 percent in this decade, the report said, while this economic category outpaced that, at 13 percent.

— in 2010, higher-income white households had moved into Census tracts that were predominantly minority in 2000. In Brooklyn's Sunset Park section, for example, some census tracts that had been majority Hispanic low-middle-income family households in 2000 were majority white middle-income families and singles in 2000.

To create the analysis and map, the group used data from the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census. The city's households were divided into 14 categories, along a combination of racial, income and household size parameters. For example, upper-income single whites were in a different cluster than white, upper-income families, as were upper-income and lower-income blacks.

The group then analyzed every Census tract in the city to see which category was the majority in that tract, and mapped the results. Tracts are small geographic subdivisions.

The demographic analysis could be "a really useful tool for the city going forward," said Citizens Housing and Planning Council Policy Analyst Neil Reilly.

"I think it's important because it really shows what's happening on the ground," he said. It could also lead to deeper analysis of issues like what contributed to the increase of lower-income black households in those areas.

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Online:

Citizens Housing and Planning Council map: http://www.chpcny.org/making-neighborhoods-map/

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Information from: The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com