Black Flight? This Reporter Expertly Breaks Down Why Nearly 200,000 Black People Have Fled Chicago in the Last Decade


On Saturday’s edition of the news program, PBS NewsHour discussed the recent migration of Black Chicago residents out of the city and back to southern metropolitan areas amidst high unemployment and extreme crime.

As “Black flight” continues, USA Today reporter Aamer Madhani joins Hari Sreenivasan at WTTW in Chicago to talk about why 181,000 middle-class Black residents left within a decade. According to Madhani, the problem is more than just crime:

“So, you look at the biggest African-American populations, nine of the 10 have seen this decline since 2000. And you have seen places like Detroit, New York and Chicago where it has been greatest.

But what is different about Detroit and Chicago — compared to New York — New York has a lot of gentrification going on, and you have seen violence nosedive a bit.

But, in Chicago, there is this dark cloud that comes with this huge flight that is going on. And it’s — you know, you look at who is affected by violence, and you look at — there’s — we’re on pace for 500-plus murders this year, and the vast majority of the people that will be killed have gang ties.

But then you look at some of the folks that you just talked to. You know, like, how could you not leave if you got shot in the arm and you have a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old? If I was in that person’s position, and if I was that person’s neighbor, I would think about leaving.

Some of this migration has been going on since the ’70s. There is industrialization, as the steel mills closed and there’s fewer opportunities.

Earlier this month, the Nabisco plant here in town on the South Side that has a big African-American and Latino population that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have been talking about, they just laid off 600 people.

Why would you stay in some of these neighborhoods around if your job isn’t there? If you or I’s job, if we lost it, we would go to where our job — the next job is.”

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