White flight
White flight has been a term that originated in the United States, starting in the mid-20th century, and applied to the large-scale migration of whites of various European ancestries from racially mixed urban regions to more racially homogeneous suburban or exurban regions. It was first seen as originating from fear and anxiety about increasing minority populations. The term has more recently been applied to other migrations by whites, from older, inner suburbs to rural areas, as well as from the US Northeast and Midwest to the milder climate in Southeast and Southwest, but this is a change from its original cause and meaning.

The term has also been used for large scale post-colonial
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

 emigration of whites from Africa.

Following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, there was pent-up housing demand in the US, and widespread suburban development took place.
White flight has been a term that originated in the United States, starting in the mid-20th century, and applied to the large-scale migration of whites of various European ancestries from racially mixed urban regions to more racially homogeneous suburban or exurban regions. It was first seen as originating from fear and anxiety about increasing minority populations. The term has more recently been applied to other migrations by whites, from older, inner suburbs to rural areas, as well as from the US Northeast and Midwest to the milder climate in Southeast and Southwest, but this is a change from its original cause and meaning.

The term has also been used for large scale post-colonial
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

 emigration of whites from Africa.

Following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, there was pent-up housing demand in the US, and widespread suburban development took place. In addition, some working-class and middle-class white families felt pressure from increases in minority populations and overcrowding in cities. They moved out to the suburbs, aided by GI loans for purchase, federally subsidized highway construction, and other facilities that made commuting to work easier.

Some researchers have attributed the Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 , was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which...

(1954) decision of the US Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

, ordering the de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

- Sociology and economy :*Social integration*Racial integration, refers to social and cultural behavior*Economic integration, refers to trade unification between different states*Educational integration of students with disabilities*Regional integration...

 of public schools, as contributing to the migration of whites from center cities to suburbs. In the 1970s, attempts to achieve effective desegregation
Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in...

 by means of forced busing in some areas led to more families' moving out of former areas. Migration of middle-class white populations was observed during the 1950s and 1960s out of cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, although racial segregation of public schools had ended there long before Brown. More generally, some historians suggest that white flight occurred in response to population pressures, both from the large migration of black from the rural South to northern cities in the Great Migration
Great Migration
Great Migration, Great Migrations, or The Great Migration may refer:In history:* Great Migration of Puritans from England to New England * Great Serb Migrations from the Ottoman Empire to the Habsburg Monarchy...

 and the waves of new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe.

The business practices of redlining
Redlining is the practice of denying, or increasing the cost of services such as banking, insurance, access to jobs, access to health care, or even supermarkets to residents in certain, often racially determined, areas. The term "redlining" was coined in the late 1960s by John McKnight, a...

, mortgage discrimination
Mortgage discrimination
Mortgage discrimination or mortgage lending discrimination is the practice of banks, governments or other lending institutions denying loans to one or more groups of people primarily on the basis of race, ethnic origin, sex or religion...

, and racially restrictive covenants contributed to the overcrowding and physical deterioration of areas where minorities were confined. Such conditions are considered to have contributed to the out-migration of other populations. The limited facilities for banking and insurance, and other social services, and extra fees increased their cost to residents in predominantly non-white suburbs and city neighborhoods. According to the environmental geographer Laura Pulido, the historical processes of suburbanization
Suburbanization a term used to describe the growth of areas on the fringes of major cities. It is one of the many causes of the increase in urban sprawl. Many residents of metropolitan regions work within the central urban area, choosing instead to live in satellite communities called suburbs...

 and urban decentralization contribute to contemporary environmental racism
Environmental racism
Environmental racism is a sociological term referring to policies and regulations that disproportionately burden minority communities with negative environmental impacts....


United States

In its first centuries the US was settled primarily by immigrants from northern Europe, and it transported slaves from Africa in a forced migration. By the time of the Civil War, the overwhelming number of African Americans were located in the rural South.

Many of the 19th c. and later immigrants were from rural societies and relatively unskilled; they started working in entry-level jobs. By the post–World War II baby and economic booms, their descendants were thriving and there was pent-up demand after the war for improved housing. The subsidized federal highway construction and real estate development of cheaper outlying lands led to suburban development and growth outside cities; commmuting by highways and parkways allowed the wealthier residents to bypass older areas filled with newer, poorer immigrants.

During the later twentieth century, industrial restructuring led to major losses of jobs, leaving formerly middle-class working populations suffering poverty, with some unable to move away for new work. Since the 1960s and changed immigration laws, the United States has received immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America; Asian and African nations. Such immigrants have changed the demographics of both cities and suburbs, for at the same time, the US has become a suburban nation. The suburbs have become more diverse. In addition, Latinos, the fastest growing minority group in the US, have begun to migrate within the interior of the nation and away from the traditional entry cities. For instance, some are moving to such Southwest cities as Phoenix and Tucson, where their increasing numbers in 2006 made European Americans a minority in additional cities of the West.


After World War II, aided by the construction of the interstate highway system
Interstate Highway System
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, , is a network of limited-access roads including freeways, highways, and expressways forming part of the National Highway System of the United States of America...

, many White American
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

s began leaving industrial cities for new housing in suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

s. These suburbs often had racially restrictive housing policies excluding African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and/or Jews and Catholics. In the cities, the post-war housing shortages - resulting from the influx of rural black and Latino workers for war-effort employment, combined with the massive numbers of white military veterans returning home from the war, aggravated socio-economic inequalities between the races. Those social conditions precipitated white flight from urban downtown areas to outlying suburbs and subdivisions where the post-war housing boom was already well under way. With the unprecedented influx of blacks and poor whites into the nation's cities during the war, middle-class and middle working-class whites considered suburban locales preferable to the inner cities, many of whose infrastructures were already in serious decline.

Legal exclusion

A practice further reinforcing unofficial segregation in states outside the South, where racial segregation was legal, were exclusionary covenants in title deeds and real estate neighborhood redlining — explicit, legally sanctioned racial discrimination in real property ownership and lending practices. Black Americans were effectively barred from pursuing homeownership, even when they were able to afford it. Suburban expansion was reserved for middle-class and working-class white people, facilitated by their increased wages incurred by the war effort and by subsequent federally guaranteed mortgages (VA, FHA, HOLC) available only to whites to buy new houses. Blacks and other minorities were relegated to a state of permanent rentership.


The roads built via the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act
Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act , was enacted on June 29, 1956, when Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law...

 (1956) and its successors served to transport suburbanites to their city jobs, thus facilitating white flight, and proportionately reduced the city’s supporting tax base, thus, consequently, beginning urban decay
Urban decay
Urban decay is the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude...

. In some cases, such as in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, local governments used highway road constructions to deliberately divide and isolate black neighborhoods from goods and services, often within industrial corridors. In Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. According to the 2010 United States Census, Birmingham had a population of 212,237. The Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area, in estimate by the U.S...

, the local government used the post–World War II interstate highway system to perpetuate the racial residence-boundaries the city established with a 1926 racial zoning law. Constructing interstate highways through majority-black neighborhoods eventually reduced the populations to the poorest proportion of people financially unable to leave their destroyed community.


The real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 business practice of “blockbusting” was a for-profit catalyst for white flight and a means to control non-white migration. By subterfuge, real estate agents would facilitate black people's buying a house in a white neighborhood; either buying the house themselves, or via a white proxy buyer, and then re-selling it to the black family. The remaining white inhabitants (alarmed ,by real estate agents and the local newsmedia), fearing devalued residential property, would quickly sell, usually at a loss. Losses happened when they sold en masse, but sales agents made good commissions anyway. They could sell the properties to the incoming black families, profiting from price arbitrage
In economics and finance, arbitrage is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices...

 and the sales commissions from both the black and white victims of such schemes. By such tactics, the racial composition of a neighborhood population often changed completely in a few years.

Urban decay

Urban decay is the sociological process whereby a city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude. Its characteristics are depopulation, economic restructuring
Economic restructuring
Economic restructuring refers to the phenomenon of Western urban areas shifting from a manufacturing to a service sector economic base. This transformation has affected demographics including income distribution, employment, and social hierarchy; institutional arrangements including the growth of...

, abandoned buildings, high local unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

, fragmented families, political disenfranchisement, crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

, and a desolate, inhospitable city landscape. White flight contributed to the draining of cities' tax bases when middle-class people left.

In the 1970s and 1980s, urban decay was associated with Western cities, especially in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and parts of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. In that time, major structural changes in global economies, transportation, and government policy created the economic, then social, conditions resulting in urban decay. Urban decay contradicts the urban development of most of Europe and North America, in countries beyond, urban decay is manifest in the peripheral slum
A slum, as defined by United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the...

s at the outskirts of a metropolis, while the city center and the inner city retain high real estate values and sustain a steadily increasing population.

North American cities suffered white flight to the suburbs and exurb commuter towns, which started to reverse in the 1990s, when the rich suburbanites returned to cities, gentrifying
Gentrification and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities. Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification, the average income increases and average family size...

 the decayed urban neighborhoods. Blight is another characteristic of urban decay. Abandoned properties attract criminals and street gangs, contributing to crime. Urban decay has no single cause; it results from combinations of inter-related socio-economic conditions — including the city’s urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 decisions, the poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 of the local populace, the construction of neighborhood-excluding freeway roads and rail road lines, depopulation by suburbanization of peripheral lands, real estate neighborhood redlining, immigration restrictions, and racial discrimination.

Government-aided white flight

New municipalities were established beyond the abandoned city’s jurisdiction to avoid the legacy costs
Legacy costs
Legacy costs is a term formed by analogy with the computer industry's legacy systems. Legacy costs are those incurred by an organization in prior years under different leadership or when the entity's priorities and resources were different...

 of maintaining city infrastructures; instead new governments spent taxes to establish suburban infrastructures. The federal government contributed to white flight and the early decay of non-white city neighborhoods by withholding maintenance capital mortgages, thus making it difficult for the communities to either retain or attract middle-class residents.

The new suburban communities limited the emigration of poor and non-white residents from the city by restrictive zoning
Zoning is a device of land use planning used by local governments in most developed countries. The word is derived from the practice of designating permitted uses of land based on mapped zones which separate one set of land uses from another...

, thus few lower middle-class people could afford a house in the suburbs. Many all-white suburbs were eventually annexed to the cities their residents had left. For instance, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee is the largest city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, the 28th most populous city in the United States and 39th most populous region in the United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. According to 2010 census data, the...

, partially annexed towns
Political subdivisions of Wisconsin
The definitions of the political subdivisions of the U.S. state of Wisconsin differ from those in some other countries or even other U.S. states, leading to misunderstandings regarding the governmental nature of an area....

 such as Granville, Wisconsin
Granville, Wisconsin
Granville was a town located in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. One portion was incorporated as the village of Brown Deer in 1955; the remainder was annexed by the city of Milwaukee in 1956. The latter became a neighborhood of Milwaukee.-History:...

; the (then) Mayor, Frank P. Zeidler
Frank P. Zeidler
Frank Paul Zeidler was an American Socialist politician and Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, serving three terms from April 20, 1948 to April 18, 1960. He was the most recent Socialist mayor of any major American city, although U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, the largest...

 complained about the socially destructive "Iron Ring" of new municipalities incorporated in the post–World War II decade. Analogously, semi-rural communities, such as Oak Creek
Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Oak Creek is a city in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 28,456 at the 2000 census. In 2009, its population was estimated at 33,946.-History:...

, South Milwaukee
South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
South Milwaukee is a city in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 21,256 at the 2000 census.-Geography:South Milwaukee is located at ....

, and Franklin
Franklin, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Franklin is a city in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States. Franklin is a suburb of Milwaukee with a population of 35,451 as of the 2010 census.-Transportation:...

, formally incorporated as discrete entities to escape urban annexation. Wisconsin state law had allowed Milwaukee’s annexation of such rural and sub-urban regions that did not qualify for discrete incorporation per the legal incorporation standards.

Desegregation: public schools and student busing

In some areas, the post–World War II racial desegregation of the public schools catalyzed white flight. In 1954, the US Supreme Court ordered the de jure termination of the “separate, but equal” legal racism established with the Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in private businesses , under the doctrine of "separate but equal".The decision was handed...

(1896) case in the nineteenth century. It declared that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. Many southern jurisdictions mounted Massive resistance
Massive resistance
Massive resistance was a policy declared by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. on February 24, 1956, to unite other white politicians and leaders in Virginia in a campaign of new state laws and policies to prevent public school desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision...

 to the policy. In some cases, white parents withdrew their children from public schools and established private religious schools instead.

In 1971, in the case of Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 was an important United States Supreme Court case dealing with the busing of students to promote integration in public schools...

(1971), the Supreme Court ordered the forced busing of poor black students to suburban white schools, and suburban white students to the city to try to integrate student populations. In the case of Milliken v. Bradley
Milliken v. Bradley
Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 , was a significant United States Supreme Court case dealing with the planned desegregation busing of public school students across district lines among 53 school districts in metropolitan Detroit. It concerned the plans to integrate public schools in the United...

(1974), the dissenting Justice William Douglas observed that “the inner core of Detroit is now rather solidly black; and the blacks, we know, in many instances are likely to be poorer. . . .” Likewise, in 1977, the Federal decision in Penick v. The Columbus Board of Education (1977) accelerated white flight from Columbus, Ohio. Although the racial desegregation of schools affected only public school districts, the most vehement opponents of racial desegregation have sometimes been whites whose children attended private schools.

A secondary, non-geographic consequence of school desegregation and busing was "cultural" white flight: withdrawing white children from the mixed-race public school system and sending them to private schools unaffected by US federal integration laws. In 1970, when the United States District Court for the Central District of California
United States District Court for the Central District of California
The United States District Court for the Central District of California serves over 18 million people in southern and central California, making it the largest federal judicial district by population...

 ordered the Pasadena Unified School District
Pasadena Unified School District
The Pasadena Unified School District is a unified school district that is responsible for the schools of Pasadena, California. , it has 4 high schools, 3 middle schools, 2 K-8 schools and 16 elementary schools...

 desegregated, the white-student proportion (54%) of the schools approximately reflected the school district’s proportional white populace (53%). Once the federally ordered school desegregation began, whites who could afford private schools withdrew their children from the racially diverse Pasadena
Pasadena, California
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...

 public school system. By 2004, Pasadena had 63 private schools educating some 33% of schoolchildren, while white students made up only 16% of the public school populace. The Pasadena Unified School District superintendent characterized public schools as “like the bogey-man” to whites. He implemented policies to attract white parents to the racially diverse Pasadena public school district. In the event, white flight rapidly altered the racial composition of public school systems. For instance, upon desegregation in 1957 in Baltimore, Maryland, the Clifton Park Junior High School had 2,023white students and 34 black students; ten years later, it had twelve white students and 2,037 black students. In northwest Baltimore, Garrison Junior High School’s student body declined from 2,504 whites and twelve blacks to 297 whites and 1,263 blacks in that period. At the same time, the city's working class population declined because of the loss of industrial jobs as heavy industry restructured.

Specific examples

In 1967, the 12th Street Riot
12th Street riot
The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan, that began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th and...

 of Detroit, Michigan, contributed to white flight. The tremendous losses of jobs in the auto industry since then also contributed to depopulation of the city and region. Contemporary Detroit has continued to suffer population losses; its reduced total of residents is now more than 80 percent black. Most of its suburbs, including Livonia
Livonia, Michigan
Livonia is a city in the northwest part of Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. Livonia is a very large suburb with an array of traditional neighborhoods connected to the metropolitan area by freeways. The population was 96,942 at the 2010 census, making it Michigan's 9th largest...

, Dearborn
Dearborn, Michigan
-Economy:Ford Motor Company has its world headquarters in Dearborn. In addition its Dearborn campus contains many research, testing, finance and some production facilities. Ford Land controls the numerous properties owned by Ford including sales and leasing to unrelated businesses such as the...

, and Warren
Warren, Michigan
Warren is a city in Macomb County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The 2010 census places the city's population at 134,056, making Warren the largest city in Macomb County, the third largest city in Michigan, and Metro Detroit's largest suburb....

, are predominantly white.

In 1980, the Mariel Boatlift
Mariel boatlift
The Mariel boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans who departed from Cuba's Mariel Harbor for the United States between April 15 and October 31, 1980....

 brought 150,000 Cubans to Miami, Florida, in what was the largest such short-term migration in US civilian history. Miami had become a center of exiled Cuban refugees since the rise of Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

. After the new refugees arrived, many of the middle-class non-Hispanic whites in the community left the city. In 1960, non-Hispanic whites made up about 90% of Miami's population. Suburbanization trends and highway development affected Miami, too, as did an increase in the Haitian
Haitian may refer to:* A person or thing of, from, or related to the country of Haiti* Haitian Creole language * Haitian cuisine* Haitian , minor character in the 2006 television series Heroes...

 immigrant population. By 1990, non-Hispanic whites comprised only about 10% of the city's residents. In addition to having numerous residents of Cuban ancestry, the international city has attracted many new immigrants from Central and South America.


White flight from Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, in southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

, began in the 1950s way before the racial Watts Riots
Watts Riots
The Watts Riots or the Watts Rebellion was a civil disturbance in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California from August 11 to August 15, 1965. The 5-day riot resulted in 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, and 3,438 arrests...

 in 1965, but the riots increased the pace of flight from nearby areas of the city. At the same time, the rising cost of real estate drove some buyers out of the city to less expensive suburbs. Latinos have become the greatest ethnic minority in California, and their numbers have increased in its major cities. During the 1990s and early 2000s, African Americans migrated from the (post-1960) historically black communities of Inglewood
Inglewood, California
Inglewood is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, southwest of downtown Los Angeles. It was incorporated on February 14, 1908. Its population stood at 109,673 as of the 2010 Census...

 and Compton
Compton, California
Compton is a city in southern Los Angeles County, California, United States, southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The city of Compton is one of the oldest cities in the county and on May 11, 1888, was the eighth city to incorporate. The city is considered part of the South side by residents of Los...

, which now have majority-Latino populations, to Inland Empire, California communities such as Fontana
Fontana, California
Fontana is a city of 196,069 residents in San Bernardino County, California. Founded in 1913, it remained essentially rural until World War II, when entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser built a large steel mill in the area...

, Rialto
Rialto, California
-2010:The 2010 United States Census reported that Rialto had a population of 99,171. The population density was 4,434.1 people per square mile . The racial makeup of Rialto was 43,592 White, 16,236 African American, 1,062 Native American, 2,258 Asian, 361 Pacific Islander, 30,993 from other...

, Moreno Valley
Moreno Valley, California
Moreno Valley is a city located in Riverside County, California.A relatively young city, its rapid growth in the 1980s and the first decade of the 21st century made it second-largest city in Riverside County by population, and one of the Inland Empire's population centers. As of the 2010 census,...

, Palmdale
Palmdale, California
Palmdale is a city located in the center of northern Los Angeles County, California, United States.Palmdale was the first community within the Antelope Valley to incorporate as a city on August 24, 1962; 47 years later, voters approved creating a charter city in November, 2009. Palmdale is...

 and Victorville
Victorville, California
Victorville is a city located in the Victor Valley of southwestern San Bernardino County, California. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 census, the city had a population of 115,903, up from 64,030 at the 2000 census.-Geography and climate:...

, as well into parts Orange
Orange County, California
Orange County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2010 census, its population was 3,010,232, up from 2,846,293 at the 2000 census, making it the third most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and San Diego County...

, and Ventura counties. Others have left the state, returning to the South in the New Great Migration
New Great Migration
The New Great Migration is the term for demographic changes from 1965 to the present which are a reversal of the previous 35-year trend of black migration within the United States...

, and the proportion and number of African Americans in the state has decreased. From 1995-2000, California lost black migrants for the first time in three decades. Because of the strong Latino demand for housing in Watts and south central Los Angeles, housing prices there rose more than 40 percent from 2004-2005.

Multi-ethnic responses to changes in neighborhoods

With the increasing diversity of United States society, researchers are looking at multi-ethnic responses to changes in composition of residential neighborhoods to understand differences among groups. A 2008 study identified differences among some Latino nationalities, and between certain Latino ethnic groups and African Americans. It found that non-whites may leave neighborhoods as the proportion of other groups increases. In some cases, Latinos and blacks left neighborhoods with increasing white populations, both because of a fear of discrimination and sometimes because of rise in housing costs (the last according to a cited study). Cubans, especially foreign-born Cubans, have a tendency to leave neighborhoods with increasing black populations. Mexicans and Puerto Ricans have a lesser tendency to take such action. Neighborhood ethnic composition has little effect on African Americans' decisions to move. European Americans show a higher likelihood of moving when there are many neighbors from other minority groups, whether they were African American or Latino.

Checkerboard and tipping models

In studies in the 1980s and 1990s, blacks said they were willing to live in neighborhoods with 50/50 ethnic composition. Whites were also willing to live in integrated neighborhoods but preferred proportions of more whites. Despite this willingness to live in integrated neighborhoods, most people live in segregated neighborhoods, which have continued to form.

In 1969, the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

-winning economist Thomas Schelling
Thomas Schelling
Thomas Crombie Schelling is an American economist and professor of foreign affairs, national security, nuclear strategy, and arms control at the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland, College Park. He is also co-faculty at the New England Complex Systems Institute...

 published his "Models of Segregation", a paper in which he demonstrated through a "checkerboard model" and mathematical analysis, that moderate preferences for having neighbors of the same ethnicity can lead to almost complete segregation of neighborhoods as individual decisions accumulate. In his "tipping model", he demonstrated that people have varying levels of perception as to acceptable levels for other ethnic groups in the neighborhood. The model shows that members of an ethnic group do not move out of a neighborhood as long as the proportion of other ethnic groups is relatively low, but if a critical level of other ethnicities is exceeded, the original residents may make rapid decisions and take action to leave. This may occur because of a domino effect
Domino effect
The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to a falling row of dominoes...

. If some people leave, then this may cause the acceptable level of others to be exceeded, which in turn causes them to leave. These two models were seen as explanatory factors at the time in white flight in the US. Schelling also noted that in different societies, people have residential preferences related to other variants, such as age, gender, income levels, and factors other than ethnicity. In 2010 Junfu Zhang combined the models into one and found support for the conclusions of both.

South Africa

About 800,000 out of an earlier total population of 5.2 million whites have left South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 since 1995, according to a report from 2009. The country has suffered a high rate of violent crime, a primary stated reason for emigration. Other causes include attacks against white farmers, concern about being excluded by affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 programs, rolling brownout
Brownout (electricity)
A brownout is an intentional drop in voltage in an electrical power supply system used for load reduction in an emergency. The reduction lasts for minutes or hours, as opposed to short-term voltage sag or dip. The term brownout comes from the dimming experienced by lighting when the voltage sags...

s in electrical supplies, and worries about corruption and autocratic political tendencies among new leaders. Since many of those who leave are highly educated, there are shortages of skilled personnel in the government, teaching and other professional areas. Some observers fear the long-term consequences, as South Africa's labor policies make it difficult to attract skilled immigrants. In the global economy, some professionals and highly skilled people have been attracted to work in the US and European nations. In addition, many blacks, Colored and Indians have expressed the desire to leave for economic opportunities. Some dispute these high numbers and argue that not all have emigrated permanently, and that a significant number return.


A study of school choice in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 found that an immigrant proportion of below 35% in the local schools did not affect parental choice of schools. If the percentage of immigrant children rose above this level, native Danes are far more likely to choose other schools. Immigrants who speak Danish at home (a measure of assimilation) also opt out. Other immigrants, likely more recent ones, stay with local schools.


A 2007 government report stated that immigration in Dublin has caused "dramatic" white flight from elementary schools in a studied area. 27% of residents were foreign born immigrants. The report stated that Dublin was risking creating immigrant-dominated banlieues, on the outskirts of a city, similar to such areas in France. The immigrants in the area included Eastern Europeans, such as Polish; Asians and Africans, mainly political refugees from Nigeria. New immigrants resided in rental housing in the study area because they lacked the savings and credit history to buy into what was characterized as an expensive market.

On the other hand, as part of the new prosperity that Ireland was achieving in the 1990s, many Irish returned from overseas. They and new immigrants took pride in things Irish. More parents were sending their children to Irish language schools
A gaelscoil is an Irish-medium primary school in Ireland, of a sort found outside the traditionally Irish-speaking regions, especially in urban areas....

, which have generally had low percentages of foreign-born pupils, but their numbers are increasing. In Ennis
Ennis is the county town of Clare in Ireland. Situated on the River Fergus, it lies north of Limerick and south of Galway. Its name is a shortening of the original ....

, for example, 10% of the students are of immigrant parents. Some observers believe that the new immigrants in the long run may contribute strongly to the growth and revitalization of the Irish language.


The nation was shocked in 2004 by the assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 of the artist Theo van Gogh
Theo van Gogh (film director)
Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh was a Dutch film director, film producer, columnist, author and actor.Van Gogh worked with the Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the film Submission, which criticized the treatment of women in Islam and aroused controversy among Muslims...

 by a Dutch Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

. Many ethnic Dutch were emigrating from the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 to nations such as Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. Rising ethnic violence, crime committed by and against immigrants, and fear that social order is breaking down, are cited as motives, as well as over-crowding and traffic jams. An all-party report by the government concluded in 2004 that the immigration policy had been a failure. There were concerns about "sink schools" and ethnic ghettos. Half the prison population was composed of immigrant youths. More than 40% of immigrants received some form of government assistance. Immigrants said they were widely discriminated.

In 2010 between 40 and 45% of the population of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 and The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 was of non-Dutch orgin.


White flight has been seen in some neighborhoods as immigration of non-Scandinavians (in numerical order, starting with the largest group; migrants from Poland, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Vietnam, Iran, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, UK, Kosovo, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Lithuania) has increased since the 1970s. By June 2009, more than 40% of Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 schools had a majority of people of immigrant backgrounds, with some schools having a 97% immigrant share. Schools in Oslo are increasingly divided by ethnicity. For instance, in the Oslo borough of Groruddalen, which currently has a population of c. 165,000, the ethnic Norwegian population decreased by 1,500 in 2008, while the immigrant population increased by 1,600. In thirteen years, a total of 18,000 ethnic Norwegians have moved from the borough.

In January 2010, on the news programme Dagsrevyen
Dagsrevyen is the daily evening news programme for the Norwegian television channel NRK1, the main channel of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation , broadcast at 7 pm. In 2007, the programme started airing simultaneously on NRK's dedicated news channel NRK2, but this arrangement ended that same...

on the public Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, a feature story said, "Oslo has become a racially divided city. In some city districts the racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 starts already in kindergarten". Reporters during the feature said, "in the last years the brown schools have become browner, and the white schools whiter", an outspokenness which caused some minor controversy.


After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, immigration into Sweden occurred in three phases. The first was a direct result of the war, with refugees from concentration camps and surrounding countries in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. The second, prior to 1970, involved immigrant workers, mainly from Finland, Italy, Greece, and Yugoslavia. In the most recent phase, from the 1970s onwards, non-European refugees have immigrated there, joined later by their relatives, from countries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Individuals in Sweden are identified by codes which include details of ethnicity and location. In exceptional circumstances, these are made available to researchers in political and social sciences; they have mapped patterns of segregation and congregation of incoming population groups over time in different parts of Sweden. Data is analysed in terms of majority and minority population groups. If a majority group is reluctant to accept a minority influx, they may leave the district, avoid the district or use tactics to keep the minority out. The minority group in turn can react by either dispersing or congregating, avoiding certain districts in turn. In Sweden recent detailed analysis of data from the 1990s onwards indicates that the concentration of immigrants in certain city districts, such as Husby
Husby, Stockholm
Husby is a district in Rinkeby-Kista borough, Stockholm, Sweden. Husby has 11,551 inhabitants as of December 31, 2007.Husby is located on the blue Metro line. The main construction of modern Husby, with its multi-level concrete apartment buildings, started in 1972 as part of the Million...

 in Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

 and Rosengård
Rosengård, literally "Rose court", is a city district in Malmö, Sweden. As of 1 January 2007, the population was 21,955, of which 60 percent were born outside of Sweden. In 2008 a total 86% of the population in the city district was of foreign background...

 in Malmö
Malmö , in the southernmost province of Scania, is the third most populous city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg.Malmö is the seat of Malmö Municipality and the capital of Skåne County...

, is in part due to flight, but primarily due to avoidance.

United Kingdom

For centuries, London was the destination for refugees and immigrants from Europe. Although all the immigrants were European, neighborhoods showed ethnic succession over time, as older residents moved out (in some cases, ethnic British) and new immigrants moved in - often both movements at once. This was similar to what is now described as "white flight" following arrival of non-white ethnicities. For instance, in the 17th and 18th century, the East End had many French Huguenot (Protestant) refugees, who managed the silk-weaving industry. At its peak in the mid-18th century, 12,000 silk weavers were employed in the Spitalfields
Spitalfields is a former parish in the borough of Tower Hamlets, in the East End of London, near to Liverpool Street station and Brick Lane. The area straddles Commercial Street and is home to many markets, including the historic Old Spitalfields Market, founded in the 17th century, Sunday...

 area. In 1742 they built a church, La Neuve Eglise. Later it became used as a Methodist chapel to serve mostly poor East Enders from around England. Although in the 17th century, the East End also had Sephardic Jewish immigrants, it was not until the concentration of 19th-century Ashkenazy Jewish immigration from eastern Europe, that the Methodist chapel was adapted as the Machzikei HaDath, or Spitalfields Great Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

; it was consecrated in 1898. By the 1870s, thousands of unskilled Jewish immigrants were garment workers in sweatshops. Descendants of Jewish immigrants became educated, took better jobs, and gradually moved on to other parts of London and its suburbs, and new immigrants settled in the area. Since 1976, the synagogue was converted to the Jamme Masjid mosque, which serves the local ethnic Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

i population, who are Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

.. Although in the past immigrant populations never affected the overall culture and way of life of cities like London, where the ethnic English were the majority which has changed in recent times.

In the 2001 Census, the London boroughs of Newham
London Borough of Newham
The London Borough of Newham is a London borough formed from the towns of West Ham and East Ham, within East London.It is situated east of the City of London, and is north of the River Thames. According to 2006 estimates, Newham has one of the highest ethnic minority populations of all the...

 and Brent
London Borough of Brent
In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 2,022. This rose slowly throughout the 19th century, as the district became built up; reaching 5,646 in the middle of the century. When the railways arrived the rate of population growth increased...

 were the first areas to have non-white majorities. All major British cities have white-majority populations.. It has also been forecast that places like Birmingham and Leicester will have non-white majority populations in time .

A 2005 report stated that white migration within the UK is mainly from areas of high ethnic minority population to those with predominantly white populations. White British families have moved out of London as many immigrants have settled in the capital. The report's writers expressed concern about British social cohesion and stated that different ethnic groups were living "parallel lives"; they were concerned that lack of contact between the groups could result in fear more readily exploited by extremists. The London School of Economics in a study found similar results.

A 2006 BBC article states that Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips OBE chairs the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is a former television executive and presenter...

, head of the UK Commission for Equalities and Human Rights
Commission for Equalities and Human Rights
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a non-departmental public body in Great Britain which was established by the Equality Act 2006 and came into being on 1 October 2007. The Commission has responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in England,...

, and Mike Poulsen, an Australian academic, have argued that White Britons
White British
White British was an ethnicity classification used in the 2001 United Kingdom Census. As a result of the census, 50,366,497 people in the United Kingdom were classified as White British. In Scotland the classification was broken down into two different categories: White Scottish and Other White...

 and non-white Britons are becoming more ethnically segregated . But, researchers Ceri Peach
Ceri Peach
Ceri Peach is a geographer from Bridgend, Wales. He was an undergraduate , graduate student and lecturer at Merton College, Oxford before being appointed to a lectureship in Geography at St Catherine's College, Oxford in 1965 at the age of 26...

, Danny Dorling and Ludi Simpson have argued that segregation in the UK is either stable or declining. Simpson says that the growth of ethnic minorities in Britain is due mostly to natural population growth (births outnumber deaths) rather than immigration. Both white and non-white Britons who can do so economically are equally likely to leave mixed-race inner-city areas. In his opinion, these trends indicate counter urbanisation
Counter Urbanisation
Counter urbanisation is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas. It first took place as a reaction to inner-city deprivation and overcrowding. Initial study of counter urbanisation was carried out by human geographer Brian Berry...

 rather than white flight.


In Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 white flight occurred in the city centres and nearby suburbs where most immigrants, usually Asian, settled. In Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, white Australians have moved from the south-western Sydney
South-western Sydney
South-western Sydney is a general term which is used to describe the metropolitan area in south-west Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is part of the Greater Western Sydney area....

 suburbs to peripheral metropolitan suburbs, notably Penrith
Penrith, New South Wales
Penrith is a suburb in western Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Penrith is located west of the Sydney central business district and is the administrative centre for the local government area of the City of Penrith...

 in far-western Sydney and the Gosford
Gosford, New South Wales
Gosford is a city located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia, approximately 76 km north of the Sydney central business district...

Wyong, New South Wales
Wyong was proclaimed a town in 1888 and is currently a major northern suburb of the Central Coast region of New South Wales, located approximately 89 km NNE of Sydney. It is the administrative centre for the Wyong Shire local government area.- History :...

 area of the Central Coast, north of Sydney. These suburbs remain predominantly European-Australian.

New Zealand

White flight has significantly affected the city of Rotorua
Rotorua is a city on the southern shores of the lake of the same name, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. The city is the seat of the Rotorua District, a territorial authority encompassing the city and several other nearby towns...

, with the junior high school population of students reduced to 70 from 700 in the early 1980s. All but one of the 70 students are Maori. The area has a concentration of poor, low-skilled people, with struggling families, and many single mothers. Related to the social problems of the families, student educational achievement is low on the standard reading test.

See also

  • Auto-segregation
    Auto-segregation is the separation of a religious or ethnic group from the rest of society in a state by the group itself. Through auto-segregation, the members of the separate group can establish their own services, and maintain their own traditions and customs.For example, some world tribes have...

  • Black flight
    Black flight
    Black flight is a term applied to the out-migration of African Americans from predominantly black or mixed inner-city areas in the United States to suburbs and outlying edge cities of newer home construction...

  • Ethnic succession theory
    Ethnic succession theory
    Ethnic succession theory is a theory in sociology stating that ethnic and racial groups entering a new area may settle in older neighborhoods or urban areas until achieving economic parity with certain economic classes...

  • Gentrification
    Gentrification and urban gentrification refer to the changes that result when wealthier people acquire or rent property in low income and working class communities. Urban gentrification is associated with movement. Consequent to gentrification, the average income increases and average family size...

  • Planned shrinkage
    Planned shrinkage
    Planned shrinkage is a public policy, practiced most notably in the 1970s in New York City, of withdrawing essential city services from neighborhoods suffering from urban decay, crime, and poverty so that neighborhoods may be claimed by outside interests for new development...

  • Residential segregation
    Residential Segregation
    Residential segregation is the physical separation of cultural groups based on residence and housing, or a form of segregation that "sorts population groups into various neighborhood contexts and shapes the living environment at the neighborhood level."...

  • Urban decay
    Urban decay
    Urban decay is the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude...

  • Xenophobia
    Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange". It comes from the Greek words ξένος , meaning "stranger," "foreigner" and φόβος , meaning "fear."...

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