The National Community Reinvestment Coalition published comprehensive gentrification research across first and second tier metros in the United States. The study is the most recent update on national gentrification trends to complement other research efforts conducted by Governing and Rice’s Kinder Institute.

The report determines a census tract as undergoing gentrification if the following criteria is met: 1. Below 40th percentile median household income and value 2. In the top 60% of increases in both median home value and percentage of college graduates 3. Median household income increases from 2000-2013.

The tract must meet all criteria. If it does, the tract is undergoing or has undergone gentrification.

Key Report Findings

  • 9% of eligible urban census tracts in the U.S. are gentrified.
  • Of that 9%, 22% experience displacement.
  • 75% gentrified census tracts are predominantly in Cities with populations of 1 Million or more. Gentrification impacts a greater share of Americans because gentrification occurs in densely populated census tracts.

The report then looks at racial displacement and population change in the census tracts with displacement. For example, in Washington D.C., 33 tracts had displacement. By looking at population change within gentrified tracts, one gets a sense of how gentrification occurs. The white population grew 21% between 1990-2010 and the black population shrunk by -4% during the same time period.

Governing published extensive research on gentrification including maps for 50 American cities. Each map looks at which tracts are gentrifying. Governing uses the same methodology as the NCRC.

Finally, the Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research published a gentrification study across Harris County, Houston from 1990-2016. In addition to looking at socio-demographics, the study looks at investment including changes in median rent and home values greater than overall county changes.

The report creates a suscepitibility to genttification index to determine what census tracst are vulnerable to gentrification and have a high probability of gentrifiying in the future.

Gentrification, in many ways, characterizes the state of urbanism or new urbanism. While the field has brought awareness to transportation, environmental sustainability, and design, it has neglected wealth inequality. In some cases, urbanism exacerbates inequality as cities push toward centralizing amenities in core business and residential districts.

The research is clear that gentrification is a rising problem in the United States that if not remediated will lead to a poisonous form of modern segregation. Americans of color are shut out from the benefit of the appreciation of home value, which is an important source of community wealth creation.