According to USA Today, St. Louis is among the major cities experiencing a decline in its black population.
2010 Census data released so far this year show that 20 of the 25 cities that have at least 250,000 people and a 20% black population either lost more blacks or gained fewer in the past decade than during the 1990s. The declines happened in some traditional black strongholds: Chicago, Oakland, Atlanta, Cleveland in addition to St. Louis.
The loss is said to be fueled by three distinct trends:
--Blacks - many in the middle or upper-middle class - leaving cities for the suburbs.
--Blacks leaving Northern cities for thriving centers in the South.
--The aging of the African-American population, whose growth rate has dropped from more than 16% in the 1990s to about 10% since 2000.
Atlanta's loss of blacks tripled since 2000 to almost 30,000. The percentage of blacks in the city shrank to 53% from 61%. But in Atlanta's vast metropolitan area, the black population soared 40% to 1.7 million, a clear indication that many spread out to suburban counties. The Atlanta region has the second-largest black population after New York.
The trend is playing out differently in Chicago. The city lost more than 200,000 residents, and more than 180,000 of them were African-American. In the metropolitan area, the black population fell 3.5% to 1.6 million, pushing it 66,000 below metro Atlanta's.
Information from USA Today contributed to this report.