IUPRA Faculty Fellow Eric Tang, PhD, surveyed African American residents who previously lived in Austin to discover why the city has experienced such a rapid decline in its African American population. Read the executive summary from the report and download the full report below.
Although Austin is one of the fastest growing major cities in the United States, its African American population has been in steady decline for nearly two decades. From 2000 to 2010 African Americans were the only racial group in Austin to experience an absolute numerical decline during a decade of otherwise remarkable growth in the city’s general population. Moreover, no other fast-growing major city experienced a decline in African Americans during that same decade.
Historically, the concentration of African American residents in East Austin was the result of state-sanctioned segregation. In 1928, city officials created a “Negro District” in which the majority of African Americans would eventually resettle because it was home to the only public school and other public services accessible to them under the racial rule of Jim Crow. Decades later these very neighborhoods would become prime targets of gentrification. Concentrated segregation followed by concentrated gentrification resulted in the massive displacement of African Americans from their historic communities.
What caused this population decline? How are those who have resettled outside of Austin fairing? This report explores these questions and, through the voices of displaced African American families, focuses on two primary forces that have led to the decline in Austin’s African American population: unaffordable housing and dissatisfaction with the city’s public schools.