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Downtown St. Paul has become a whole lot whiter over the past decade

Since 2000, the white share of downtown St. Paul's population has increased by 24 percent.
Since 2000, the white share of downtown St. Paul's population has increased by 24 percent.

Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently put together a list of the "fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods" in the country, and one of them is downtown St. Paul.

Granted, Petrilli's characterization of these neighborhoods as "gentrifying" seems to be inappropriate. He uses race data but not income data, so the zip codes he singles out would be more accurately described as the "fastest-whitening neighborhoods."

St. Paul's 55101 zip code ranks 16th. In 2000, 49.3 percent of residents were white, but that number shot up to 73.3 percent by 2010 -- a 24 percent increase in the white share of the population. The 55101 zip code includes Downtown and Lowertown, as depicted by the purple perimeter in the above map.

Petrilli notes that the whitening phenomenon isn't "limited to a few of our great coastal cities. These gentrifying neighborhoods are literally all over the map."

The neighborhood with the biggest increase in the white share of the population from 2000 to 2010 is in Columbia, South Carolina, with zips in Chicago, Austin, Brooklyn, and D.C. also cracking the top ten. For the full list and an explanation of the methodology, click here.

White flight? In downtown St. Paul, at least, whites have apparently been making a lot of one-way flights into the neighborhood in recent years.


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