The Warmth of Richmond's Sun

Minority flow north reverses with better local conditions.

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Against a flat television screen full of images of urban strife and rioting, a demographic study is quietly making the rounds in the blogosphere. Titled

"Best Cities for Minorities, Gauging the Economics of Opportunity," it posits that the best areas for employment and housing for minorities such as blacks and Latinos may be Southern cities including Richmond.

Yes, you heard that right. “In fact,” the authors write, “for African Americans 13 of the top 15 cities, including number one, Atlanta, were located in Dixie.”

Authors Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox go on to say that in the top 15, four Texas cities made the cut. D.C., including NOVA, was No. 3, nestled between Raleigh, No. 2, and Charlotte, No. 4. Richmond isn't too far behind at No. 8.

Richmond also is a draw for Hispanics. Richmond ranked No. 2 from 2000-2013 at about 180 percent, following Louisville. Richmond also placed at No. 9 in growth of Asians at about 120 percent. It was No. 3 in black homeowners and 10th for self-employed businesses.

The numbers were put together by Kotkin, director of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman Umiversity in California, and Wendell Cox, head of Demographia, a demographics firm.

Their data goes straight against the image on televisions news: that of blacks shot down by police and riots in places such as Ferguson, Baltimore and Cleveland.

It also goes against another vision from yesteryear -- the Seaboard Air Line Railroads’ Silver Meteor passenger train making one of its last stops at Richmond’s Main Street Station before reaching the Mason-Dixon line and the end of Jim Crow laws.

Thousands of blacks from the South passed through on trains like it on their way to better living and more freedom that the North then offered. For a great read of the huge diaspora, check out “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabell Wilkerson.

Seems the flow has been reversed for good reason.

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