Ta-Nehisi Coates sees a “Great Migration in reverse” lurking in the Census data. He quotes this:
Historically, the South was home to roughly 90 percent of the nation’s blacks from 1790 until 1910, when African-Americans began to migrate northward to escape racism and seek jobs in industrial centers such as Detroit, New York and Chicago during World War I. After the decades-long Great Migration, the share of blacks in the South hit a low of about 53 per cent in the 1970s, before civil rights legislation and the passage of time began to improve the social climate in the region. [...]
The nation’s black population grew by roughly 1.7million over the last decade. About 75 per cent of that growth occurred in the South – primarily metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami and Charlotte, N.C. That’s up from 65 per cent in the 1990s, according to the latest census estimates.
To me that mostly sounds like black people are moving to the same metro areas as everyone else. Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Charlotte in the south and Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas outside the south. After all, the basic dynamic of weak job opportunities in the midwest and no affordable housing in the northeast applies regardless of skin color. What’s more, this is really not a reversal of the Great Migration in any meaningful sense. Texas wasn’t a major historic African-American population center and it strains credulity to describe Miami as part of the south. If black people start leaving Chicago to move to rural Mississippi that be a reversal, but this is the same sun/permit-driven migration that everyone’s doing.