Graph showing the percentage of the African American population living in the American South, 1790–2010.

The New Great Migration is the demographic change from 1970 to the present, which is a reversal of the previous 60-year trend of black migration within the United States.

Since 1970, deindustrialization of cities in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, growth of jobs in the "New South" with lower costs of living, desire to reunite with family, cultural ties, the perception of lessening discrimination and religious connections have all acted to attract African Americans to the Southern United States in substantial numbers.[1][2] Between 1965 and 1970 around 287,000 African Americans left the Southern United States, while from 1975 to 1980, it is estimated 109,000 African Americans migrated to the Southern United States, showing the reversal of the original Great Migration.[1] Between 1975 and 1980, several Southern states saw net African American migration gains. In 2014, African American millennials moved in the highest numbers to Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. [3] African American populations have continued to drop throughout much of the Northeast, especially from the state of New York[3][4] and from northern New Jersey,[5] as they rise in the South. In Massachusetts, even though the black population saw a net increase between 2010 and 2020, the Greater Boston area lost approximately 8,800 black residents and Massachusetts lost an average of 11,700 black residents per year from 2015 to 2020, with approximately half moving to Southern states and Georgia and Florida being the most popular destinations.[6]

African Americans are moving to the suburbs.[7]

Demographic shifts

College graduates and middle-class migrants make up a major portion of the new migration. For instance, from 1965 to 2000, the states of Florida, Georgia, and Texas attracted the most black college graduates. The only state outside the former Confederate States that attracted a sizeable migration of black college graduates was Maryland, most of the population growth being in the counties surrounding Washington, D.C. In that same period, California was a net loser of black migration for the first time in three decades. While the migration is still in progress, much data is from this 35-year period.[8]

The New Great Migration is not evenly distributed throughout the South. As with the earlier Great Migration, the New Great Migration is primarily directed toward cities and large urban areas, such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Raleigh, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Virginia Beach, San Antonio, Memphis, Orlando, Nashville, Jacksonville, and so forth. North Carolina's Charlotte metro area in particular, is a hot spot for African American migrants in the US. Between 1975 and 1980, Charlotte saw a net gain of 2,725 African Americans in the area. This number continued to rise as between 1985 and 1990 as the area had a net gain of 7,497 African Americans, and from 1995 to 2000 the net gain was 23,313 African Americans. This rise in net gain points to Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, and Houston being a growing hot spots for the migrants of The New Great Migration.[1] The percentage of Black Americans who live in the South has been increasing since 1990, and the biggest gains have been in the region's large urban areas, according to census data. The Black population of metro Atlanta more than doubled between 1990 and 2020, surpassing 2 million in the most recent census. The Black population also more than doubled in metro Charlotte while Greater Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth both saw their Black populations surpass 1 million for the first time. Several smaller metro areas also saw sizable gains, including San Antonio;[9] Raleigh and Greensboro, N.C.; and Orlando.[10] Primary destinations are states that have the most job opportunities, especially Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and Texas. Other southern states, including Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas, have seen little net growth in the African American population from return migration.[citation needed]

Religion has been suggested to be one of the causes of the New Great Migration. Many migrants of the New Great Migration try to find a "sign of God" about moving, and even those coming for job reasons will use faith to manage the feelings of uncertainty that come with moving to another state. Some migrants move to get more connected to their faith and see the move as a "spiritual journey", as the Southern states (often called the Bible Belt) have a large number of churches and a heavy connection to Protestant Christianity.[1]

See also

By city

By state


  1. ^ a b c d Pendergrass, Sabrina (2017). "No Longer 'Bound for the Promised Land': African Americans' Religious Experiences in the Reversal of the Great Migration" (PDF). Race and Social Problems. 9 (1): 19–28. doi:10.1007/s12552-016-9191-8. S2CID 152160225.
  2. ^ "A 'New Great Migration' is bringing Black Americans back to the South". 12 September 2022.
  3. ^ a b Reniqua Allen (July 8, 2017). "Racism Is Everywhere, So Why Not Move South?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Dan Bilefsky (June 21, 2011). "For New Life, Blacks in City Head to South". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Dave Sheingold via The Record (February 27, 2011). "North Jersey black families leaving for lure of new South". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  6. ^ Woodard, Tiana (November 5, 2022). "Why some young Black Bostonians are choosing to move to the South". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  7. ^ "Black flight to the suburbs on the rise".
  8. ^ William H. Frey (May 2004). "The New Great Migration: Black Americans' Return to the South, 1965-to the present". Brookings Institution. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  9. ^ "Latinos, Blacks Show Strong Growth in San Antonio as White Population Declines". 2021-08-13.
  10. ^ Felton Emmanuel (January 2022). "New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are becoming less Black as African Americans leave the cities that drew their elders". Washington Post. Retrieved January  14, 2022.