Today’s suburbs are symbolic of America’s rising diversity

By William Frey, Brookings, June 15, 2022

“[The most] eye opening [takeaway from the 2020 census] is the increased diversity in the nation’s suburbs. [The] big suburbs are more racially diverse than the country as a whole, [most lost whites between 2010 and 2020, and] a majority of those under 18 are people of color.

“[White populations had a] head start [in populating the suburbs, so] white residents in the nation’s major metro areas are still more likely than minority groups to call the suburbs their home. … In 1990, roughly two out of 10 suburbanites were people of color. This rose to 30 percent in 2000 and 45 percent in 2020 [by which time] people of color comprised more than half the suburban populations in 15 of the nation’s 56 major metro areas.

“Because the most rapidly growing suburbs are in the nation’s South and West, these suburbs also show the greatest minority representation … 

“With the exception of New York and Chicago, most highly diverse big suburbs are located in … California, Texas, and Florida. …Suburbs where more than half [the] population are people of color [include] Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Miami … Suburbs with the largest white losses [include] those in [metro] San Francisco …

“Noteworthy of recent city-suburb population shifts is a reversal of the dynamics of white and Black flight. The traditional pattern of suburbanization motored by ‘white flight’ from cities to suburbs for much of the postwar period has now mostly disappeared. [At the same time, the increase in]… Latino or Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and persons identifying as two or more races has made a profound impact on both suburban and primary city growth …

“Suburbs with the largest white losses were those in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, Riverside, Calif., and San Francisco.”

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