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New Research Shows Why Crime Is The Key To Understanding Gentrification


The wave of gentrification in historically lower-income and minority neighborhoods is nothing new for New York. From Greenwich Village to Williamsburg and Astoria, high-net-worth individuals have sought the character, grit and charm of neighborhoods that suburbs lack.

But the biggest single factor, and the one that drives higher earners to move into previously avoided neighborhoods, is crime, NYU urban policy and planning professor Ingrid Gould Ellen tells the New York Times.

She’s part of a trio of academics behind new research that shows a link between a sharp drop in violent crime and gentrification. The research suggests dropping crime rates can have the inverse impact that rising ones did in the much of the postwar era in the US.

The scholars used confidential, geocoded data from the 1990 and 2000 censuses, along with data from the American Community Survey of the US Census, and compared this with FBI data on violent crime in cities to paint a picture of the probability of certain demographic groups moving to or leaving cities, as opposed to moving to or leaving the suburbs surrounding them.

The results showed that higher-income and college-educated people (and whites, although not to the same extent) were more likely than others to leave an area or move to it based on the crime rate. [NYT]

Related Topics: NYU, U.S. Census Bureau