Making Census Of It: Many Brooklyn Neighborhoods Have Fewer Black Residents
While the 2010 census results show that Brooklyn's population grew only marginally, it also found a dramatic drop in the number of its black residents. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez continues the week-long series on the census.
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Fulton Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn is now an area that is no longer predominantly black. According to the 2010 census, the black population in Fort Greene and neighboring Clinton Hill shrunk by about one-third over the last 10 years.
Brooklyn as a whole has lost 4 percent of its black residents.
City Councilman Al Vann, a lifelong Brooklynite, says many of his family and friends have no plans to leave.
"Well, I don't think we have an exodus," he says.
Vann lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, another neighborhood where gentrification has grown over the last decade. He attributes the declining black population to those who have retired and moved down south.
"They have roots there, and so maybe in their later years they're seeking a warmer climate and a less costly living," says Vann.
Census numbers show the black population in Georgia grew by 23 percent and in Florida by 25 percent.
The findings also reflect a trend in black migration to the suburbs. New York City's black population declined by 2 percent. It is the first time since the Civil War draft riots that the overall black population fell in the city.
Borough President Marty Markowitz says Brooklyn will always be home to a large, vibrant African-American population.
"Brooklyn still has the largest black population by county in America that is not a city in of itself," says Markowitz. "Cook County has a larger black population, but that includes the city of Chicago. I'm only talking about Brooklyn as a county."
A community resource is the annual Discover Bed-Stuy Expo, now in its fifth year. Partially funded by Vann, it helps connect both longtime residents and newcomers with services they may need.
"Just connecting with all these organizations here is really phenomenal," says a participant.
"It's a beautiful community. positive spirit. people are good people," says Vann.
The goal is to enhance the neighborhood and to keep some constants among the changes.