County Durham has changed dramatically over the past decade, experiencing urban revitalization, gentrification, and economic shifts towards the tech and innovation industries. These changes have drawn new faces looking for opportunities to the burgeoning Research Triangle.
How have the people of County Durham been affected by these developments? To answer this question, The Chronicle studied changes in Durham’s population and income over the past 10 years using data from the 2020 U.S. Census.
The racial and ethnic makeup of County Durham’s population has changed over the past 10 years.
The percentage of blacks in the population has increased from 37.5% in 2010 to 33.6% in 2020. In contrast, the percentage of Hispanic, Asian and other / multiracial people has increased.
Gentrification could be a factor in the percentage decrease in black Durhamites, according to John Quinterno, visiting professor of the practice at the Sanford School of Policy.
“You see a cycle of people moving in, a cycle of gentrification, you see the movement of lower income residents with higher income residents,” Quinterno said. “Many of the low-income displaced people are people of color. “
As richer people arrive in Durham attracted by the revitalization of the inner city and the tech boom, working class people of color are forced to sell their homes in historic neighborhoods, driven by rising housing costs and property taxes.
“The declining proportion of blacks is likely due to a variety of things,” said Robert Korstad, professor emeritus of public policy. “Rising house prices have caused some people to move out of town, rents have become too high, it is impossible for some people to buy houses… that’s probably the driving force.
The US census also showed an increase in the percentage of adults in County Durham’s population.
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In 2010, adults made up 75.46% of the population, while children under 18 made up 22.54%. In 2020, 80.1% of Durham residents were adults, compared to 19.9% of children. The growth in the percentage of adults and the decrease in the percentage of children may suggest that more adults without children have moved to County Durham in the past decade.
National age and fertility trends may also have played a role in this increase. Quinterno explained that the median age of the American population has increased. In addition, the 2008 recession was correlated with a decline in fertility, which could have lowered birth rates from 2010 to 2020.
The overall population of County Durham appears to have seen an increase in income as of 2010.
The percentage of Durham residents in the highest income brackets — from $ 75,000 to $ 99,000 to $ 200,000 or more — has increased from 2010. There has also been a decrease in the percentage of residents in the upper income brackets. lower income.
To determine whether these increases are specific to Durham or reflect income growth at the national and state levels, The Chronicle compared the percentage change in median household income for Durham County, North Carolina state. and the United States from 2010 to 2019 using data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
North Carolina and the United States saw income increases of 9.92% and 11.74% respectively. County Durham recorded the largest percentage change in income, 15.92%.
These income increases are consistent with the economic redevelopment and gentrification that is and has happened in Durham, as lower income people are displaced by higher income ones, according to Quintero.
Korstad said the increase in income levels can be attributed to Durham’s evolution from a city of blue-collar workers to more white-collar workers. The city offers more well-paying jobs, while those working at the lower end of the pay scale sometimes have to leave the city.
As Durham continues to grow over the next 10 years, Korstad says he believes these changes “will also be accelerated over the next decade.”
“I guess Durham is going to be even more white collar, middle / upper income, especially the city but more and more the country too, the people,” he said.