Jackson ‘White Flight' Slows In Last Decade

photo

Neighborhoods like Presidential Hills, which saw its most dramatic demographic changes in the 1970s, offer a more nuanced context for recent census numbers.

The release of 2010 Census data earlier this year may have been a gut-check for Jackson's leaders, but the numbers were hardly surprising. News reports, however, were quick to seize on them: Jackson's population dropped 5.8 percent over the last decade, from 184,256 in 2000 to 173,514 in 2010. Meanwhile, the five-county metropolitan statistical area--which includes Copiah, Hinds, Madison, Rankin and Simpson counties--grew 8.4 percent.

The city lost 19,485 white residents from 2000 to 2010, even as it added 7,976 black residents. For all the furor over the new census numbers, you'd think that this was surprising news. The truth is, the census numbers help tell a familiar story, but they also provide some interesting insights.

The population loss of the last decade was actually slower than the previous one. From 1990 to 2000, the capital city shed 6.3 percent of its residents. The 1990s were especially hard for the city; by comparison, the 1980s saw only a 3.1 percent population decrease.

The '90s also saw the most dramatic shifts in the city's racial balance. From 1980 to 1990, the proportion of Jackson's white population dropped from 52 percent to 43 percent. Then from 1990 to 2000, nearly 35,000 white residents left the city. Whites went from making up almost half of the city's population to a little more than a quarter. The past decade actually represents a slowing of that trend, albeit a slight one.

Some of the most illuminating trends in census data actually come from the American Community Survey, which the Census Bureau uses to collect detailed demographic information on housing, income and family structure. US2010, a project led by Brown University sociology professor John Logan, maps census and ACS data from as far back as 1940 onto census tracts of roughly 4,500 residents each.

US2010's online maps, which are accessible to everyone at s4.brown.edu/mapusa/, paint a detailed picture of Jackson's evolution. Take the city's Census Tract 4, which includes portions of north Fondren and Broadmoor, from Cedarhurst Drive to Meadowbrook Road. In 1980, the area was more than 95 percent white. Its poverty rate was between 3 and 6 percent, and between 70 and 80 percent of the neighborhood's homes were owner-occupied. Under half the households in the area had lived there fewer than 10 years.

By 1990, 5 percent to 10 percent of the census tract was black. These largely new black residents had a median income that was at or above the median income for whites in the neighborhood. Poverty and homeownership numbers remained the same, and median home values had risen slightly.

A decade later, the area's racial balance was approaching even, with both whites and African Americans making up between 30 percent and 50 percent of the population. Homeownership figures remained the same, and median home values had soared to between $200,000 and $250,000. But the area's poverty rate had doubled, or more. Now the median household income for white residents was above the median for the neighborhood as a whole. The figure for African Americans, on the other hand, was below the overall median.

By the most recent American Community Survey, from 2005 to 2009, the area's population was majority African American. Median income was slightly higher for all groups, though the figure for African American residents was still slightly lower than the number for whites. With the collapse of the housing bubble, median home values dropped by half or more. The area's population appeared to be newer, with 65 to 70 percent arriving since 2000 and owner occupancy down to between 60 and 70 percent.

In other parts of the city, profound demographic changes happened long ago. Census Tract 103.01, which includes the Presidential Hills neighborhood, saw its racial demographics shift dramatically in the 1970s. The tract--bordered by Cynthia Road, Northside Drive and Medgar Evers Boulevard--was between 80 and 90 percent white in 1970. By 1980, it was majority black, with whites making up less than 30 percent of the area's population. Since that time, median household income has trended slowly upward. The area's poverty rate peaked at between 25 and 30 percent in 1990 and has dropped steadily since then. Median home values rose gradually from 1970 to 2000 but reached a plateau with the 2005-2009 ACS.

Previous Comments

ID
162595
Comment

All, notice that JXN's white flight *slowed last year* for the first time in decades. Told you there was more to the story that the corporate media bothered to report.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-18T15:17:54-06:00
ID
162597
Comment

From story above: The population loss of the last decade was actually slower than the previous one. From 1990 to 2000, the capital city shed 6.3 percent of its residents. The 1990s were especially hard for the city; by comparison, the 1980s saw only a 3.1 percent population decrease. The '90s also saw the most dramatic shifts in the city's racial balance. From 1980 to 1990, the proportion of Jackson's white population dropped from 52 percent to 43 percent. Then from 1990 to 2000, nearly 35,000 white residents left the city. Whites went from making up almost half of the city's population to a little more than a quarter. The past decade actually represents a slowing of that trend, albeit a slight one.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-18T15:22:20-06:00
ID
162599
Comment

Memo to media: When a city has suffered from "white flight"/population loss for years, the "news" is not that it hasn't completely stopped; "news" is when the Census shows that it has slowed for the first time in many years. Thus, that "news" would be the obvious headline, even if it does not provoke the kind of hysterical sensationalism that corporate media love, but that is sinking them into the toilet. With due respect.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-18T15:27:48-06:00
ID
162607
Comment

I have never seen this issue addressed which doesn't mean it wasn't but I wanted to see if anyone else remembers the "non qualifying assumable mortgages" in the 1980's? Based on my experience at the time these mortgages contributed to the "white flight" more than anything else during that time. These were mortgages that could be assumed by anyone without any form or background check. At the time I was in the insurance business and primarily focused on homeowners so I had numerous houses insured in the Presidential Hills area as well as Willowood, Carriage Hills, Brookleigh, and others just to name a few. I didn't then nor do I now have any problem living next to someone who had to go through the same qualifications I did to obtain a mortgage. I'm sorry and I realize there are exceptions but job security and a good credit score reveals alot about a person. It helps me to sleep better at night knowing I'm surrounded by people similar to me from a fiscal responsibility standpoint. People like that have something to lose and have proven themselves to be responsible neighbors. That wasn't the case with the non qualifying loans. At the time the company I worked for based qualifications for insurance on credit scores among other things and I lost literally 7 out of every 10 homes I had insured in these neighborhoods when we tried to transfer the insurance to the new owners. In addition I talked to those who had been in the neighborhood for years and most of them were in a panic to sell whereas before they had no intention. When I say these neighborhoods went downhill over night I'm not exaggerating because the better part of my time was based increasingly on trying to qualify the new owners so I didn't lose the business. I have no figures to back this up but it seemed to me that my claims activity went through the roof on the ones I could qualify. It was called a "white flight" but my customers were black and white and both had the same problem with their new neighbors. People who were able to just walk into the house next door without going through any type of background check and assume notes they couldn't afford. Maybe it was because of the business I was in and the front row seat it allowed me to have in watching this but I firmly believe it was those mortgages that created what we see now. I never saw the Clarion Ledger address this issue back then but I did see them do what they do best which is stir up anything racial they could. I think their current circulation of 14 subscribers are all the group they seem to target. That being people who blame their miserable marriage and pot smoking kids on anyone with a different skin color. Didn't mean to get off the subject but then as now they went after subjects that provoked anger rather than solutions and these articles did nothing to help the situation. Anyway that's my two cents which is what many of you will say it's worth but in my opinion the non qualifying assumable loan originated what would become Madison, Brandon, Crystal Springs, etc. and ran a large group of people out of Jackson who otherwise wouldn't have left.

Author
Alex0393
Date
2011-03-19T15:55:57-06:00
ID
162609
Comment

With other local media, telling the rest of the story doesn't sell papers, make the ratings or generate user comments. Which is exactly what's wrong. Anyhow, I'm hoping that Jackson has reached its rock bottom and will begin the road to recovery. I don't want to see this city turn into another Flint, MI or Gary, IN--cities that are ripe with hopelessness & despair.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-03-20T14:41:19-06:00
ID
162610
Comment

There have been at least a dozen reports about the Jackson census in newspapers and on TV and radio. EVERY SINGLE TIME they give the precise count for Jackson itself, then cite how much the surrounding counties, in the "metropolitan statistical area", grew as a percentage. Not once have I read, seen or heard exactly what that "metropolitan statistical area" population is. Why is it that every news outlet in the state seems to know precisely how much the city shrank and how much the rest of the metro area grew, right down the the percentage of growth for each county, and yet no one seems to know or care how big the metropolitan area is? This isn't a trivial matter. Consider, for instance, that you want or need to visit Atlanta but you don't know much about it. If all you know about the city is that its population is around 500k, then you're likely to get quite the surprise when you arrive on I-20. Is it possible that a news outlet will ever get round to telling us how big the Jackson area really is, or do they all think that the 173k figure is all anyone needs to know?

Author
berberry
Date
2011-03-21T07:25:40-06:00
ID
162611
Comment

The Jackson MSA isn't that hard to find if you want to know: http://www.census.gov/econ/census02/maps/metro/33000us298m.pdf

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2011-03-21T07:55:11-06:00
ID
162612
Comment

"The Jackson MSA isn't that hard to find if you want to know" Indeed, it isn't. But that's not what I wanted to know. If you'll look again, you'll see that I was wanting the MSA population figure, not an outline of the counties. I realize that I can go add up all the county populations and arrive at the figure that way. My point is that the information is important. If you can't understand why, then you'd probably make an excellent reporter at any of the fine news outlets in this city.

Author
berberry
Date
2011-03-21T08:19:45-06:00
ID
162613
Comment

I started to link to this one before, but wanted to be sure it was the Jackson MSA that matched the map: http://www.metrojacksoneda.com/demographics/JGA/index.htm I understand why its important to you, but its not like its some secret that can't be determined with a little research. If you want to bemoan the local media's failure to include it, fine.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2011-03-21T08:43:44-06:00
ID
162634
Comment

Jeff Lucas - 2 berberry - 0

Author
RobbieR
Date
2011-03-21T13:59:35-06:00
ID
162636
Comment

berberry, I'm not into the score-keeping. But since you seem to be new here, I should probably explain how the JFP nation operates. We can get prickly with each other from time to time, but for the most part, we're all united in our desire to see Jackson thrive. Our readers know how hard our reporters work to give the whole story, the context, the important parts of the story that other media miss (like the fact that we should all be at least a bit happy to see that white flight finally seems to be decreasing a little). It also means that we are damn busy trying to turn over rocks. If you want to know, or add to the conversation, what the MSA is, then go find it and post it like Jeff did. Spending all this ink (so to speak) berating us for not including something that is easy to find for yourself seems rather pointless. And I think that is the point that Jeff is trying to make. ARound here, we don't have a lot of patience for time-wasting. There is too much to be done. Put another way, the JFP has always been helped by our so-called citizen journalists and crowd-sourcing. Please feel free to find a way to contribute.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-21T14:09:22-06:00
ID
162641
Comment

Boyd, I'd assume the overall health of the economy may have been a factor. Hard to fly when you can't afford it.

Author
jbreland
Date
2011-03-21T18:37:28-06:00
ID
162651
Comment

I think it's safe to say that it wasn't that, or certainly not that alone. Anyone who has seen what has happened in JXN in the last decade, before and now, knows that this city is on creative fire. Stay tuned. It's a work-in-progress with many non-whiners (meaning doers) plugged in and working for the city's future. The change is under way. Join us or get out of our way. We don't care, either way.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-22T09:02:51-06:00
ID
162657
Comment

Join us or get out of our way. We don't care, either way Quick, get that on a bumper sticker!

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-03-22T10:49:13-06:00
ID
162659
Comment

Boyd- When the economy gets better, the people moving out will increase again. I hear people say it almost daily. If/When the economy turns around and they can get a decent price for their houses, they are gone.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-03-22T11:16:19-06:00
ID
162662
Comment

Right, Bubba. Because you spend so much time hanging out in the city. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-22T11:56:20-06:00
ID
162663
Comment

Donna- Yeap don't spend much time in Jackson, but do to talk or spend time with a good many people who live there almost every day. ;-) You know, I have only heard 1 person (other than the few who post on here)say they wanted to move to Jackson, in the 10yrs I have lived in the Jackson area.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-03-22T12:55:55-06:00
ID
162664
Comment

Donna- Yeap don't spend much time in Jackson, but do to talk or spend time with a good many people who live there almost every day. ;-) So do I, Bubba. So do I. And I have the exact opposite experience: I don't hear from many on a daily basis who want to live beyond the city limits. That doesn't mean, of course, that they don't exist. You know, I have only heard 1 person (other than the few who post on here)say they wanted to move to Jackson, in the 10yrs I have lived in the Jackson area. You know what that means, don't you? That you have only heard 1 person (other than the few who post on here) say they wanted to move to Jackson, in the 10yrs you have lived in the Jackson area. Nothing more, sorry. For all we know, you just might move in circles who prefer a different kind of lifestyle than an urban one (now where would I get *that* idea!?). That's fine for y'all, but it doesn't represent everyone. You simply do not speak for all Mississippians. No one does, and people should stop pretending that they do. It makes us look provincial that anybody thinks they represent an entire community of people.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-22T13:15:39-06:00
ID
162667
Comment

Donna, you are so right, I don't like the urban lifestyle as soon as my youngest gets out of school, I'm gone to where my nearest neighbor is a mile away. I have never said I speak for everyone,just relating my experience, as you do yours.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-03-22T14:34:06-06:00
ID
162672
Comment

Also, fwiw, I know of several college friends who are moving to areas such as Madison, Brandon, Clinton, etc., who otherwise grew up in other parts of the state and region. Without direct knowledge, I'm hoping these new arrivals are not being counted towards "white flight". Also, I'd expect a reduction of "white flight" as there will be less Caucasians in a position to fly given the current trends. It will be interesting to see how these figures are portrayed once the older demographics pass on.

Author
jbreland
Date
2011-03-22T15:27:47-06:00
ID
162675
Comment

I have never said I speak for everyone,just relating my experience, as you do yours. Of course you are, Bubba, and that's cool. My point is that your (and my) anecdotal experiences aren't exactly scientific proof of anything. Also, fwiw, I know of several college friends who are moving to areas such as Madison, Brandon, Clinton, etc., who otherwise grew up in other parts of the state and region. Without direct knowledge, I'm hoping these new arrivals are not being counted towards "white flight". Agreed, Jackson. But under the Ledger, et al's, facile analysis, they probably were. This is a big part of our point: You simply can't draw overly simplistic conclusions from a few lines of data in that initial Census report. Shame on the media that caused panic without any kind of real analysis behind it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-03-22T15:40:49-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment