Census 2010: Hispanic Hype, Black Backwash, White Flight

The 2010 Census numbers have been streaming out, and last week saw comprehensive race / ethnicity data released. Let's take a look at some of the highlights and lowlights.

The big news was that the Hispanic population grew 43 percent during George W. Bush's decade of 2000-2010, to more than 50,000,000.

Fifty million is a colossal number. That surpasses the population of the country of Spain and is about equal to England.

But the Main Stream Media couldn't find much of interest to say about this phenomenon, other than to approvingly pass on the usual rote quotes of ethno-triumphalism from self-designated Latino Leaders.

The MSM's problem is that they've told us so many times before about the vibrant—if vague—future ahead of us in a Hispanicized America that few outlets seemed able to even try to whip up much enthusiasm for this latest milestone.

Nevertheless, there remains much to be said. For example: what is the impact on global carbon emissions of this vast transfer of population from low per capita emission Latin America to high emission USA?

Of course, you aren't supposed to talk about stuff like that.

But, then, what else is there left to talk about after all these years?

The realization has slowly been sinking in that the long-heralded Latino cultural renaissance is turning out to be most evident in things like, oh, that Vin Diesel still has a career in Hollywood. Hispanic youths can't get enough of his Fast and Furious movies. Fast Five, which, in case you were wondering, is the fifth in the series about furious guys driving fast, debuts in theatres near you on April 29th.

Granted, Diesel isn't, as far as anybody knows, Hispanic—he looks like a cross between Jerry Seinfeld and former Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty (with maybe a fire hydrant thrown in there somewhere). And neither are his co-stars Paul Walker (white) and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (black and Samoan).

Nevertheless, if even Latino young people aren't all that interested in Latinos, how can you expect the MSM to stay focused?

Instead, they mostly wanted to talk about Census data on blacks. Granted, from a numerical standpoint, African-Americans are yesterday's news, but they are still vastly more fascinating per capita to opinion-moulders than are Latinos.

For example, one piece of remarkable news is that the population of the Motor City dropped by 25 percent over the last ten years--the fastest collapse in American history of any major city not decimated by a natural disaster. In Detroit, which has had black mayors since 1974, the black population declined by 185,393 over the last ten years alone.

In response, the New York Times ran an op-ed by Thomas J. Sugrue [Email him] on blaming the 2000-2010 catastrophe on, get this, white housing discrimination in the 1960s:

"The private sector played its part, too: loans and mortgages to minorities or for houses in racially mixed or black neighborhoods were deemed 'actuarially unsound,' too risky an investment for lenders and builders. Even after the antidiscrimination laws of the late 1960s, real estate brokers surreptitiously maintained the color line in housing through 'steering' …"

(A Dream Still Deferred, March 26, 2011)

Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's have the federal government prod mortgage companies to lend more money to blacks in the Motor City. What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, a March 24 NY Times article, Many U.S. Blacks Moving to South, Reversing Trend by Sabrina Tavernise And Robert Gebeloff, reports on the main overall trend in black migration: heading South, back whence their forebears came.

"The five counties with the largest black populations in 2000 — Cook in Illinois, Los Angeles, Wayne in Michigan, Kings in New York and Philadelphia — all lost black population in the last decade. Among the 25 counties with the biggest increase in black population, three-quarters are in the South. … "

A few points are left vague in this  article, naturally.

  • The first is that the size of this black backwash isn't that really gigantic in an overall black population of 38.1 million:

"There are now more than one million black residents of the South who were born in the Northeast, a tenfold increase since 1970."

Yet you wouldn't expect black migration numbers to be immense because African-Americans don't move all that often. They tend to be homeboys, most comfortable on familiar turf. African cultures are frequently matrilocal, which works to keep people in one place.

But the direction of the black migration is quite interesting.

  • The second point left vague: black dominance of an urban area tends to eventually drive out not just whites, but blacks, too.

Which, of course, is what's happening in Detroit. East St. Louis, Illinois is another, now almost-forgotten example. The population was 70,029 in the 1970 Census. By 1971, blacks had become numerous enough to elect a black mayor. The population is now 27,006.

  • The third aspect glossed over in the article: blacks are leaving Blue State America for Red State America---at least in part because they prefer living in the kind of states dominated by Republicans.

The NYT article does note:

"Blacks who moved to the South were disproportionately young — 40 percent were adults ages 21 to 40, compared with 29 percent of the nonmigrant black population. One in four newcomers had a four-year college degree, compared to one in six of the black adults who had already lived in the South."

In other words, this black exodus from the Blue States is driven less by black retirees seeking warm weather and more by strivers looking for jobs.

As I pointed out in my March 6, 2011 VDARE article Population Paradoxes, the fundamental contradiction of contemporary Republican pro-business policies—low tax, low wage, low regulation—is that in places where they work well, they tend to draw in people who will vote against Republicans for racial reasons. This happens faster with Hispanics. But, as we can see here, it also happens with blacks, too.

In contrast, the fundamental contradiction of Democratic policies is that they are too expensive to be affordable by populations that become highly black and/or Hispanic.

For example, the fast-growing Atlanta region competes with the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex for the title of Capital of Red State America. Both have giant hub airports that are magnets for the kind of frequent flier homebuyers who are the backbone of Republican voters.

In turn, both are highly attractive to minorities. The white population of Dallas County dropped 20 percent over the last ten years, while the black population grew 16 percent and the Hispanic population 37 percent.

Nor is it a coincidence that portions of the suburban Atlanta area are also well on their way to becoming the Capital of Black America.

For example, Gwinnett County, northwest of Atlanta, was famous a generation ago as the white exurb that sent Newt Gingrich to Congress. Yet, over the last decade, the white population has dropped by 10 percent while the black population has grown by 140 percent. Whites are now moving to ex-exurbs beyond Gwinnett.

In terms of commute times, white flight is more convenient in an inland Red State metropolis than in a coastal Blue State one. Being inland, Greater Atlanta, like so many Red State cities, can expand in a 360-degree radius. Detroit, like so many Blue State cities, can only expand away from the water (and, in Detroit's case, the Canadian border).

Still, how much of your life do you want to spend in your car?

Maynard Jackson became the first black mayor of Atlanta the same week in 1974 that Coleman Young became the first black mayor of Detroit. But the fate of Atlanta has been happier, so far. The city of Atlanta's population is down to 420,003, off from its 1970 peak of 496,973, but the metropolitan area has grown over the last 40 years from 1,763,626 to 5,729,304. [U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Georgia's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting, March 17, 2011]

The city of Atlanta accounts for only 7 percent of its region's population. With such a modest power base, Atlanta's black mayors have tended to be suave fellows who didn't scare off Corporate America (as in Tom Wolfe's AA Man in Full). In contrast, Detroit's long-reigning Young (as depicted in Zev Chafets' Devil's Night) ruled as a tribal avenger.

The most notorious such black mayor: Washington D.C.'s Marion Barry. He got so out of control that the feds set him up and arrested him in 1990 in what was tantamount to a municipal coup.

Washington D.C., long a contender for the title of Capital of Black America, was also in the news last week---because it had lost its famous black majority. The black population of D.C. fell 11 percent, while the white population soared 32 percent.

A Washington Post reporter knocked on the door of the house in the eastern Capitol Hill neighborhood where Barry had lived when he was first elected mayor in 1978 and found a white yuppie family. He also got a quote that's almost too good to be true:

"Three years ago, when she moved to the neighborhood from Arlington County, Kristen Thor, 33, said her friends said, 'Oh my God, you're moving to the 'hood!'"

"'The area has really changed,' said Thor, a postural therapist who is white."[Marion Barry's old block: a D.C. neighborhood's racial evolution, by J. Freedom du Lac and Paul Schwartzman, March 26, 2011]

A Valley Girl named "Kristen Thor" in Marion Barry's old stomping ground!

The District of Columbia is also the Imperial Capital of the World. That's where it gets decided who is going to get cruise-missiled and who isn't. So it increasingly attracts from all over the world the kind of people who want influence over where the cruise missiles are aimed.

Marion Barry, and the homies who think voting for Marion Barry is a good idea, don't have much of a future in the Imperial Capital of the World.

This is a reminder of how much of the electoral power of the Marion Barrys of the late 20th Century was based on street crime. Thugs don't vote much, but they keep the Kristen Thors of America out of hugely valuable urban property for decades, which allowed the Marion Barrys to get re-elected. But now, a much larger fraction of the thugs are in prison than in the 1970s-1980s. Hence, the Barry voters are being scattered by gentrification.

Washington D.C. might be the only major city where the white population grew faster (32 percent) than the Hispanic population (up only 22 percent, compared to 43 percent nationally).

If you are wondering why Washington D.C. elites can't understand your concerns about the impact of illegal immigration, well, that's not the reality they see on the streets of D.C. What they see is their city being overrun by swarming hordes of young white people with postgraduate degrees and trust funds.

So what are you worrying about anyway? Open your eyes, man!

Finally, what about whites?

Looking at the spectacularly detailed maps of race and ethnicity provided by the NYT, it's clear that there are two trends going on among white people.

  • First, a relatively small number of whites are recolonizing a small number of inner cities.

For example, Oregon's Census Tract #5 near downtown Portland, saw its white population grow by 223 percent.

The problem: white people haven't yet figured out how to foster jobs in an urban core and demographically dominate the public schools in order to be able to afford to have children.

Strict environmental laws on suburban development have helped make Portland wildly popular among young whites looking to hang out with other young whites. (Not explicitly, of course.) Yet there are so few jobs that Portland is now called the place where hipsters go to retire. And if Portland's economy were deregulated, would the public schools rapidly turn Hispanic as low-wage workers poured in?

I don't believe this is an insoluble problem. There are a lot of smart white hipsters who would like to be able to send their future kids to the urban public schools that they pay taxes for. Unfortunately, it's hard to devise and implement effective policy if you can't admit in public (or even to yourself) what your goal is: to effectively resegregate urban public schools.

It's a big country and there are a lot of hinterlands out there. But how practical will this strategy turn out to be when gasoline hits, say, $10 per gallon?

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]