An interesting-but-miscast observation from Michael Petrilli at the Fordham Institute:
Which communities in the U.S. are witnessing the greatest amount of gentrification? I started poking around Census Bureau data (with the assistance of some colleagues and the Census Bureau’s excellent help line) and here’s what I found. I looked at zip codes (which isn’t perfect, because boundaries can change) and places with a large increase in the white share of the population (which isn’t perfect, because you’d really want to look at changes in income levels, but those data aren’t available yet for 2010). With those caveats in mind, take a look:
This chart is about white people, for some reason. White people are interesting, and this chart is interesting, sure, but this seems quite beside the point of a discussion of gentrification.
Here’s the question: Is gentrification rightfully measured by the influx of white people into a neighborhood, or rather by the rise of mean household income (so, upward socioeconomic disruption) in a neighborhood?
Put otherwise: Wouldn’t we call Oprah, Spike Lee, Raven Simone and Neil deGrasse Tyson moving to Shaw “gentrification?”
(Pretty sure I know the answer to this question.)
UPDATE-1: Yes, he caveats a lack of current data about income levels, but that is beside the point: the chart doesn’t really tell us anything about income levels, so it doesn’t really tell us anything about gentrification as a socioeconomic phenomenon. Integration and gentrification are not, and have never been, synonymous meanings.