African-Americans not the majority in Harlem

January 06, 2010 09:38AM

While Harlem has been an epicenter of black urban culture for nearly a century, in some parts of the neighborhood, African-Americans are no longer the majority. In fact, this population shift began a decade ago but went largely unnoticed, the New York Times reported. Since 2000 central Harlem’s population has grown more than in any decade since the 1940s, but the black population, at 77,000, is smaller than at any time since the 1920s. And although blacks make up six out of every 10 residents in central Harlem, U.S.-born African-Americans comprise less than half of all residents, while the proportion of whites living there has more than doubled in the last 10 years, reaching its highest levels since the 1940s. This shift in demographics underlies complex changes in the community, according to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “It’s a mistake to see this only as a story of racial change,” Stringer said. “What’s interesting is that many African-Americans are living in Harlem by choice, not necessity.”

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