Gentrification study: Richmond’s black population dropped 35-percent from 2000 to 2013

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Richmond’s black population fell from 35,300 in 2000 to 22,800 in 2013, a 35-percent drop that suggests gentrification is occurring, according to findings from researchers at the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

The research says gentrification is in its early and middle stages in some Richmond areas. While the city’s black population is dropping, Latino and Asian American populations have been increasing. The white population in Richmond has remained stable, according to the report.

As Richmond becomes more desirable, low-income residents are becoming priced out. Some 6,740 renters, about 37-percent of all Richmond renters, earn less than $35,000 annually and spend more than 30-percent of their income on housing, the report indicated.

More than 80-percent of residents in North Richmond and in most of the central and south Richmond areas are renters, it found.

“These facts raise concern that if regional trends of accelerating housing prices and persistent inequality hit Richmond, a substantial part of the city could be vulnerable [to gentrification],” the report stated.

The Haas Institute held a housing summit in Richmond on Feb. 20 to present the research and host a discussion on how to move forward. They determined that inclusionary policymaking at the city level can stem the tide of gentrification.

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