About 4 in 10 immigrants are moving directly from abroad to the nation’s suburbs, which are growing increasingly diverse, according to census figures released yesterday.
The Census Bureau’s annual survey of residential mobility also found that after steadily declining for more than a half-century, the proportion of Americans who move in any given year appears to have leveled off at about one in seven.
“For blacks, especially, it mimics the 50s-style suburban movement, most pronounced for married couples with children, owners and the upwardly mobile,” said William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.
Dr. Frey’s analysis of mobility patterns found that while Hispanic and Asian immigrants were more likely to settle first in the nation’s cities, “after they get settled, they follow the train to the suburbs.”
A couple days ago I was in Colosse and headed to the airport to take a quick flight back to Estacado. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather I didn’t beat the outbound rush hour traffic and was stranded in the northwest part of town. Northwestern Colosse and Corinth, the suburb, is an area that I’ve spent a lot of time since I was about sixteen. My friend Kaye Brown lives out there, I’ve had two jobs out there, and I lived out there myself with my friend John Fustle with whom my benevolent Webmaster lives now. Since I had already missed my flight anyway, I decided that I would just get off the road and bide my time. I decided to call either the Browns or Webmaster and spent some time with them. Since the Browns were retired and the chances were even that Webmaster himself was stuck in the same traffic, I decided to call the Browns.
The development out there over the past twelve years or so has been absolutely astonishing. As such, all of the landmarks I was going to use to navigate myself to the Brown’s house was, if not gone, obscured by being surrounded by all sorts of other things. It used to be that there were trees, the Bregna building, then more trees. I couldn’t count gas stations anymore, either, since there was one at each corner of every major intersection. So I got lost and ended up driving around Corinth for about half an hour trying to find them (lest you’re worried about the flight, I had already made alternate arrangements with the very helpful person at the airline).
Corinth used to be an industrial park and housing for those that worked at the industrial parks. Most jobs were blue collar and retail. As Colosse pushed ever-outward, though, the commuter and white collar suburbs have grown tremendously to the point that it was becoming simply a lilly-white suburb. Then things turned again as outer-Corinth became home to the master-planned homes that people wanted to own and Corinth and northwestern Colosse became home to the new suburbanites.
The long and short of it is that despite all of the development out there, what was perhaps the biggest surprise was how much less white Corinth as a whole has become (at least until you get to the outer reaches of it). The other thing, and I’m not sure what precisely to attribute this to, is that inner-Corinth and northwestern Colosse now have a look and feel of purely working class rather than the working-middle class it had when I first started making my way up there or professional class which is where it looked like it was headed. I’m not sure whether the reason for the change in perception is latent racism on my part (blacks live there, must be lower-class…) or whether it simply looks worse now because it’s more easily compared to outer-Corinth, the “new suburbs”, compared to which they are considerably more modest.
The question I had while reading the NYT article was how they define suburbs. It’s wonderful that minority families are increasingly able to escape the city just as whites have been doing for some time, though of course it always leaves things ever-worse off for those that they leave behind. Unfortunately, it appears that the goalpost is being moved as they move into inner-ring suburbs largely replacing homeowners that have moved to the outer-rings and exurbs. It’s one of those trends you can’t help but think will hit a wall at some point, but never really does.