Here’s a surprising statistic from a recent U.S. Census report, which has significant implications for Democratic electoral strategy and immigration policy. Of the 25 fastest-growing cities in the nation, 24 are located in the sunbelt (sole exception: Joliet City IL). Even more striking, few of the top 258 cities are not in the sunbelt. It appears that time is not on the side of the “northeastern strategy.”
The tremendous influx of Hispanics into sunbelt states is a large part of the story, recounted here and elsewhere. But it also appears that African American “reverse migration” back to the south is another phenomenon of increasing interest to Democrats. New York City, for example, had 30,000 fewer African American residents in 2004 than in 2000. An estimated 70 percent “left the region altogether” and most of them went south, according to Democratic Underground.com.
And, as William Frey of the Brookings Institution reports:
Hispanic and Asian populations are spreading out from their traditional metropolitan centers, while the shift of blacks toward the South is accelerating…Fully 56 percent of the nation’s blacks now reside in the South, a region that has garnered 72 percent of the increase in that group’s population since 2000.
Strategy-wise, reasonable Democrats can disagree about whether or not Democratic presidential candidates should invest significant time, money and effort in winning southern electoral votes in this cycle. By ’12, however, the argument should be over.