New Great Migration

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Graph showing the percentage of the African American population living in the American South, 1790–2010.

The New Great Migration is the demographic change from 1970 to the present, which is a reversal of the previous 55-year trend of black migration within the United States.

Since 1970, deindustrialization of cities in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, growth of jobs in the "New South" with lower costs of living, family, desire to reunite with kinship ties, lessening black on black crime, and religious connections have all acted to attract African Americans to the Southern United States in substantial numbers.[1] Between 1965 and 1970 the Southern States lost around 287,000 African Americans, while from 1975 to 1980 the South United States had a net gain of 109,000 African Americans showing the reversal of the original Great Migration.[1] Between 1975 and 1980, several southern states saw net African American migration gains. In 2014, African American millennials moved in the highest numbers to Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. [2] African American populations have continued to drop throughout much of the Northeast, especially from the state of New York[2][3] and northern New Jersey,[4] as they rise in the South.

Demographic shifts

College graduates and middle-class migrants make up a major portion of the new migration. For instance, from 1965–2000, the states of Florida, Georgia, and Texas attracted the most black college graduates. The only state outside the former Confederate States that attracted a sizeable migration of black college graduates was Maryland, most of the population growth being in the counties surrounding Washington, D.C. In that same period, California was a net loser of black migration for the first time in three decades. While the migration is still in progress, much data is from this 35-year period.[5]

The New Great Migration is not evenly distributed throughout the South. As with the earlier Great Migration, the New Great Migration is primarily directed toward cities and large urban areas, such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Raleigh, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Virginia Beach, San Antonio, Memphis, Orlando, Nashville, Jacksonville, and so forth. North Carolina's Charlotte metro area in particular, is a hot spot for African American migrants in the US. Between 1975 and 1980, Charlotte saw a net gain of 2,725 African Americans in the area. This number continued to rise as between 1985 and 1990 as the area had a net gain of 7,497 African Americans, and from 1995 to 2000 the net gain was 23,313 African Americans. This rise in net gain points to Charlotte being a growing hot spot for the migrants of The New Great Migration.[1] Primary destinations are states that have the most job opportunities, especially Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas. Other southern states, including Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas, have seen little net growth in the African American population from return migration.[citation needed]

While there are many causes of the New Great Migration, another reason not talked about as much is religion. Many migrants of the New Great Migration try to find a "sign of God" about moving and even those coming for job reasons will use faith to manage the feelings of uncertainty that come with moving states/jobs. Some migrants move to the South of the United States to get more connected to their faith and see the move as a "spiritual journey". This is not coming from nowhere, as the southern states are often called the Bible Belt, due to the large number of churches and heavy connection to Protestant Christianity in the area.[1]

See also

By city

By state


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Pendergrass, Sabrina (2017). "No Longer 'Bound for the Promised Land': African Americans' Religious Experiences in the Reversal of the Great Migration" (PDF). Race and Social Problems. 9 (1): 19–28. doi:10.1007/s12552-016-9191-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Reniqua Allen (July 8, 2017). "Racism Is Everywhere, So Why Not Move South?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Dan Bilefsky (June 21, 2011). "For New Life, Blacks in City Head to South". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Dave Sheingold via The Record (February 27, 2011). "North Jersey black families leaving for lure of new South". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved July 9, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. William H. Frey (May 2004). "The New Great Migration: Black Americans' Return to the South, 1965-to the present". Brookings Institution. Retrieved July 10, 2017.