Comings & Goings

The New York Times has posted a riveting graphic representation showing where Americans are moving to and from, by race. I noodled around this spot for awhile, finding out some surprising things, but you could find more. Manhattan has become 22 percent more white--okay, housing prices have pushed out most people, and whites are richer than everyone else, while the Bronx has become eight percent less so, and has gotten much more Latin. My own county of Middlesex, Massachusetts has become -- at long last -- six percent less white, gaining both blacks and Hispanics. That wouldn't take much; one of my friends says that her friends from back home ask her how she's doing up here in "The Big White." But I think that's right; the Boston area is, slowly but steadily, shedding its image as impossibly racist. We'll never be New York, but we're getting a little more mixed, with the neighborhood lines far less fixed than when I first moved here in the late 18th century. (Okay, I exaggerate a little for effect.) But hey, that's better than Duchesne County, Utah, which has zero percent black population -- and that's a 75 percent increase.

Interestingly, Hawaii's Hispanic population has doubled. And my new favorite spot, Amanda Marcotte's hometown of Brewster County, has gained population and become six percent whiter; I guess that arts colony is good for everyone. I'm guessing that Utah's central regions expanded simply because of the high birth rate.

And that's the other fascination of this interactive map: checking out which areas gained and lost population as a whole. You can see quite graphically how people have been fleeing the rural areas and moving into the urban and suburban regions. Entire parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Illinois, and much of the midwest appear to be emptying out--with blips for urban counties like Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.

It's all a fascinating puzzle awaiting more reporting. What's happening in central Tennessee that's drawing so many folks? In central Washington? This is a very wonky way of wasting your afternoon, dear readers. Please let me know what you see here, and tell me why it's interesting. Then you can feel virtuous when you look up and, to your shock, it's already time to pick up the kids and you've accomplished nothing except to better understand your state's redistricting issues.

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