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Census Lays Bare Rapid Gentrification

The last 10 years have seen an exodus of black people from Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have become significantly whiter as black people have left the neighborhoods by the thousands in the last 10 years, census data shows.

The news that Fort Greene and Clinton Hill is gentrifying is certainly not a stunning revelation, but the numbers, compiled by Susan Weber Stoger, professor of Sociology at Queens College, are striking.

In Fort Greene, the black population dropped by 12 percent, while the white population jumped by 12 percent.

In Clinton Hill, the black population dropped by 13 percent, while the white population increased by 14 percent.

In human terms, that spells out as follows:

  • In Fort Greene over 4,600 black people left the neighborhood in the last 10 years.
  • In Clinton Hill, over 4,400 black people left the neighborhood in the same period.
  • In Fort Greene, over 2,500 white people moved to the neighborhood in the last 10 years.
  • In Clinton Hill, 4,600 white people moved to the neighborhood.

"It's been a big change," said Melinda Palmer, a grandmother who has lived on Clermont Avenue for the last 20 years. "I don't like the increase in prices. There are more cars, bikes and dogs."

Those newcomers have brought money, as well.

In both Fort Greene and Clinton Hill the median household income rose by $4,000. (In Fort Greene to $48,812, in Clinton Hill to $53,155).

Palmer, who was shoveling snow off of her car with the help of her two grandkids, conceded that the neighborhood had improved somewhat — but at a heavy price.

"The neighborhood was good already — buildings are being repaired a bit, it's a little cleaner — but it was fine before!"

Still, crime statistics show that the neighborhood has become much safer since the bad days of the 1980s and 1990s when Myrtle Avenue was known as  "Murder Avenue." In 1990, there were 19 murders within the 88 Precinct. Last year, there were three.

But it isn't just crime that has declined — diversity has, as well.

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