The last two decades of neighborhood change are dramatic, for and within almost any metropolitan area in this nation.  We were inspired by a recent report by the City of Atlanta Planning Department that looks at these change dynamics for the City. Our June 2021 regional snapshot takes this  “model” and expands it to evaluate similar trends across the 20-County Region’s landscape.  We assessed nearly twenty years of American Community Survey and decennial Census data on population change, poverty levels, racial distribution, home values, and income ranges. Using those data, we classified Census tracts into subsets that experienced one or more of the following four “change conditions” over the 2000-2019 period: population growth, population decline, poverty concentration, and/or poverty displacement. Key snapshot findings include:

  • 53% of the 20-county region’s Census tracts registered some form or combination of the above “change conditions”.
  • 12% of Census tracts experienced significant population growth during the timeframe. In these growth tracts, median household income increased by 14 percentage points (in 2019 dollars) .  Population in all categories except White, Nonhispanic/Latinx increased by 7.5 percentage points.
  • 28% of Census tracts experienced significant poverty concentration during the timeframe. In these tracts of poverty concentration, median household income decreased by 27 percentage points. Population in all categories except White, Nonhispanic/Latinx increased by 13 percentage points.

For the complete story and much more data/ many more maps, click through the slides below or download the Regional Snapshot: Neighborhood Change (June 2021)

In looking at the spatial patterns revealed in the snapshot, a context for the changes does become apparent. The City of Atlanta has seen an influx of more affluent residents over the past two decades, contributing to low-income displacement through the process of gentrification.  The redevelopment of town squares and added regional transportation options in smaller cities have contributed to a similar phenomenon in the suburbs, as those cities retrofit to meet consumer demands. And finally, low-income concentration has shifted toward unincorporated portions of the suburbs where aging housing stock and lower taxes contribute to a lower cost of living and to more affordable housing (relative to the nearby cities).

To explore much of the small-area data in our area and State that played a part in these analyses, check out DataNexus. And watch this blog for more posts on socioeconomic and demographic trends.