Racial Inequality, Poverty and Gentrification in Durham, North Carolina

De Marco, A., & Hunt, H.
2018

From the introduction: "From infant mortality to life expectancy, race predicts outcomes in the United States. Racial inequities, created and sustained through the policies and practices of governments and other institutions, have long-lasting and cumulative impact. In Durham, North Carolina, the revitalization and subsequent gentrification of its downtown has brought these racial fault lines to the surface. A medium-sized city in the American South, Durham is experiencing rapid growth. However, the lingering effects of historically-rooted and systemic racism continue to shape the city today.

Once a tobacco and textiles center, Durham successfully pursued a 21st century knowledge-based economic model. The recent revitalization of the Durham city center, the result of significant planning, advocacy and investment, has transformed the downtown, and Durham overall, into a desirable destination. However, as affluent newcomers move in, and as jobs become increasingly stratified by education and income, rising prices and social dislocation are pushing out the original residents, who are often poor or working class and Black.

Gentrification in Durham has been extensively covered of late, in both local and national media. In this report, we take a deeper look at the long reach of historical policies and how they continue to replicate racial inequities, despite abundant economic growth. Specifically, we examine some of the poorest census tracts in Durham—tracts that were ground zero for redlining and urban renewal— and explore the changes brought by the downtown renaissance."

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Citation: De Marco, A., & Hunt, H. (2018). Racial inequality, poverty and gentrification in Durham, North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC School of Law, North Carolina Poverty Research Fund.