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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:01 PM
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City demographic stats that don't jive with outsiders' perceptions

in a recent thread where black flight was being discussed, chicago's southside was painted with a very broad brush as little more than a big monolithic black ghetto that is going to entirely implode.

the problem with that is the fact that the southside is GIANT. at 118 sq. miles, it's larger in land area than the other two sides of chicago combined, and is home to all kinds of different neighborhoods that are going through various stages of neighborhood life cycle - decay, stability, and rebirth.

but what's perhaps even more interesting to those not familiar with the southside of chicago is that it's not even all that black. as of 2015 (the most recent neighborhood level estimates i could find) the southside was home to 1,041,720 people, 553,605 of whom were black, or 53.1%. and with black flight still at crisis levels in chicago, that percentage might have even fallen below the 50% mark by now.

my guess is that the "southside of chicago" is a lot more black in the mind of the average joe than it is reality.



what demographic stats about your city might go against the grain of generally held but misguided perceptions?
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:10 PM
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Boston is perceived as not very black, but the % black is higher than NYC. Granted, this is city-proper only, by metro NYC has a higher % than Boston.

The West Coast is thought of as the Chinese mecca, but there are more Chinese in NYC metro than anywhere on the planet outside of Asia. NYC, overall, is more Asian than popularly perceived, and less Italian and African American than popularly perceived. Everyone knows about Flushing, but South Brooklyn, in particular, is becoming Asian plurality (or majority?) outside of the Jewish enclaves.

Also, the NYC Jewish population is misunderstood. Yes, NYC is very Jewish, but there are almost no major Conservative or Reform populations left outside of the gentrified precincts. NYC Jews are very Orthodox these days. If you're looking for "traditional delis" and Fran Drescher-types, they're in Boca Raton. Jewish NY is more falafel than pastrami these days.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:18 PM
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I find that minority enclaves in general tend to be exaggerated. As a local example, the GTA suburbs of Brampton and Markham are usually thought of as being overwhelmingly Indian and Chinese, respectively.

In reality though, Brampton is 44% South Asian and Markham 45% Chinese. They're the dominant groups to be sure, but still a long way from singularly defining the demographics. In contrast, Toronto is 48% white but is certainly not thought of as being a "white city".

Anything that deviates from the norm is just more likely to be noticed and whatever characteristic that is most exceptional is what people are going to run with.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
in a recent thread where black flight was being discussed, chicago's southside was being painted with a very broad brush as little more than a giant monolithic black ghetto that is going to entirely implode.

the problem with that is the southside is GIANT. at 118 sq. miles, it's larger in land area than the the other two sides of chicago combined, and is home to all kinds of different neighborhoods that are going through various stages of neighborhood life cycle - decay, stability, and rebirth.

but what's perhaps even more interesting to those not familiar with the southside of chicago is that it's not even all that black. as of 2015 (the most recent neighborhood level estimates i could find) the southside was home to 1,041,720 people, 553,605 of whom were black, or 53.1%. and with black flight still at crisis levels in chicago, that percentage might have even fallen below the 50% mark by now.

my guess is that the "southside of chicago" is a lot more black in the mind of the average joe than it is reality.



what demographic stats about your city might go against the grain of generally held but misguided perceptions?
For Chicago, the fact that it's so heavily Hispanic is also not well known outside of urbanist circles. People still view it as a Polish/Italian sausage and Blues kind of city, not really the city of tamales. And its large Puerto Rican population goes unrecognized.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:24 PM
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For Toronto I know there's a gigantic South Asian population, but they seem much less visible (at least downtown) than, say, the Chinese population. Are they all in the furthest burbs or something? If you're walking through, say, Eaton Centre, Union Station or through those downtown tunnels, you would never guess there are more South Asians than Chinese.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyRonin View Post
I find that minority enclaves in general tend to be exaggerated. As a local example, the GTA suburbs of Brampton and Markham are usually thought of as being overwhelmingly Indian and Chinese, respectively.

In reality though, Brampton is 44% South Asian and Markham 45% Chinese. They're the dominant groups to be sure, but still a long way from singularly defining the demographics. In contrast, Toronto is 48% white but is certainly not thought of as being a "white city".

Anything that deviates from the norm is just more likely to be noticed and whatever characteristic that is most exceptional is what people are going to run with.
Well, 44% Asian/Indian is huge, though, for any city in the western world.

Also bearing in mind just how quickly Toronto changed in the past 30-40 years from being a predominantly white city to one that is so heavily dominated by immigrants from abroad.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:27 PM
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People tend to think Arizona is far more Hispanic than it actually is, it has a smaller proportion of Hispanic residents than any other border state.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
For Toronto I know there's a gigantic South Asian population, but they seem much less visible (at least downtown) than, say, the Chinese population. Are they all in the furthest burbs or something? If you're walking through, say, Eaton Centre, Union Station or through those downtown tunnels, you would never guess there are more South Asians than Chinese.
Yes I think it's fair to say that while the Chinese population also has their far flung suburbs (Markham) they are more well-represented within the core, especially the younger groups.

Probably a bunch of reasons for that, one that comes to mind is that a popular avenue for Chinese people to immigrate and get money into Canada is through education. A mainland family will have a "representative" in Toronto who schools at UofT or Ryerson and probably owns real estate in their name funded by their family. They are more likely to live close to those areas than a South Asian family, where the patriarch likely moved to Brampton 10+ years ago and several family members have since immigrated and joined the household since then.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Well, 44% Asian/Indian is huge, though, for any city in the western world.

That's what I mean by being exceptional though - a place that's 45% South Asian is an exception while a place that's 45% white isn't (or in it's case it's exceptional for being non-majority white); even though the effect is that either place has a similarly-sized dominant but not majority racial demographic.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
For Toronto I know there's a gigantic South Asian population, but they seem much less visible (at least downtown) than, say, the Chinese population. Are they all in the furthest burbs or something? If you're walking through, say, Eaton Centre, Union Station or through those downtown tunnels, you would never guess there are more South Asians than Chinese.

They skew suburban, as do most non-white groups, but no moreso than East Asians. I would certainly say it's a very visible demographic in just about any part of the city though.

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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 5:26 PM
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People tend to think Arizona is far more Hispanic than it actually is, it has a smaller proportion of Hispanic residents than any other border state.
Yeah, I've heard that, too.

Boise has the opposite problem. there are over 100,000 Hispanics in the Boise Metro (Ada and Canyon make up the bulk of it), which doesn't sound like a lot until you realize how small Boise is:


image source


here's another common misperception: "Boise is over 60% Mormon (or higher)"
Truth: the Boise metro is only about 15% Mormon, which is still high compared to most cities, but not nearly what people think. another way to put it: 85% of Boise is not Mormon.


another semi-related tidbit I heard recently: there are 92 languages spoken by students in the Boise school district. that's probably about 90 more than people would think.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 5:31 PM
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People tend to think Arizona is far more Hispanic than it actually is, it has a smaller proportion of Hispanic residents than any other border state.
Arizona is about a third Hispanic, no? That's not chump change.

And, if there's a "perception" of people there being "Hispanic," I'm thinking they have a large indigenous population too, who going by appearances, might be mistaken for Hispanic.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 5:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
For Toronto I know there's a gigantic South Asian population, but they seem much less visible (at least downtown) than, say, the Chinese population. Are they all in the furthest burbs or something? If you're walking through, say, Eaton Centre, Union Station or through those downtown tunnels, you would never guess there are more South Asians than Chinese.
It seems to me that while walking downtown I see about as many South Asians as I do East Asians.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 5:39 PM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
For Chicago, the fact that it's so heavily Hispanic is also not well known outside of urbanist circles. People still view it as a Polish/Italian sausage and Blues kind of city, not really the city of tamales. And its large Puerto Rican population goes unrecognized.
very true. across the board, chicago is less black and more latino than most outsiders realize. latinos now outnumber blacks in the city.

and that dovetails into another common chicago misconception: the west side is also nothing but a bombed-out black ghetto.

the truth (as of 2015): the west side is home to 482,761 people, 205,025 of whom are black, or 42.5%, roughly the same percentage as the city of milwaukee as a whole.




that said, now i want some tamales for lunch, but i brown-bagged it today (leftover pasta fagioli).
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Last edited by Steely Dan; May 22, 2019 at 8:54 PM.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 5:51 PM
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Arizona is about a third Hispanic, no? That's not chump change.

And, if there's a "perception" of people there being "Hispanic," I'm thinking they have a large indigenous population too, who going by appearances, might be mistaken for Hispanic.
The problem is Hispanic is also not any sort of unified ethnic group, not for lack of politicians trying though.

Its a linguistic group but there are "Hispanics" who consider themselves white, and what most would consider white who consider themselves Hispanic and a large portion of native Americans overlap with Hispanics especially in the southern part of the state.

And then you have the rural/urban divide in the cities Hispanics represent about 1/3 of the population but some rural areas are near 100% Hispanic.

Native Americans also only make up like 2-3 % of the population, reservations are literally a 3rd world country and are like a bowling ball on our statistical averages.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 8:46 PM
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Also bearing in mind just how quickly Toronto changed in the past 30-40 years from being a predominantly white city to one that is so heavily dominated by immigrants from abroad.
White doesn't mean non-immigrant nor does non-white imply immigrant though.

30-40 years ago, Toronto had a high foreign born population too (though not as high as today) including Italians, other continental Europeans and still even a sizeable proportion of British (British continued to immigrate to Canada in large numbers up until even the 60s, unlike most US cities, which didn't get much British immigration to big cities after colonial times).
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 8:51 PM
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White doesn't mean non-immigrant nor does non-white imply immigrant though.

30-40 years ago, Toronto had a high foreign born population too (though not as high as today) including Italians, other continental Europeans and still even a sizeable proportion of British (British continued to immigrate to Canada in large numbers up until even the 60s, unlike most US cities, which didn't get much British immigration to big cities after colonial times).
^ Ahhh okay, I stand corrected.
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Old Posted May 22, 2019, 8:56 PM
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They skew suburban, as do most non-white groups, but no moreso than East Asians. I would certainly say it's a very visible demographic in just about any part of the city though.
Well, Americans and Canadians are probably more familiar with East Asians downtown in their inner cities due to the history of Chinatowns often located there. South Asians don't have as large of a history of being in the inner city part of US/Canadian cities (there are places that have South Asians for over 100 years in North America, like Yuba city, the Sacramento valley, parts of Metro Vancouver though but these enclaves were tiny/rare and not major parts of cities' downtowns).

I think this is true of Toronto too.

So, people are more likely to encounter East Asian shops/restaurants/businesses for historical reasons (even if they are leftover kitschy Chinatown decor that is close to being gentrified away, after East Asians suburbanized), which might add to the "East Asian" feeling, unlike the South Asian shops which may be in plazas farther away from where tourists see.
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Old Posted May 23, 2019, 3:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
very true. across the board, chicago is less black and more latino than most outsiders realize. latinos now outnumber blacks in the city.

and that dovetails into another common chicago misconception: the west side is also nothing but a bombed-out black ghetto.

the truth (as of 2015): the west side is home to 482,761 people, 205,025 of whom are black, or 42.5%, roughly the same percentage as the city of milwaukee as a whole.




that said, now i want some tamales for lunch, but i brown-bagged it today (leftover pasta fagioli).
Very interesting thread!

How are Hispanic neighborhoods doing in Chicago btw? Are they poor, middle-class, upper-class and how is the crime situation in predominately Hispanic areas?
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Old Posted May 23, 2019, 11:23 AM
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So, people are more likely to encounter East Asian shops/restaurants/businesses for historical reasons (even if they are leftover kitschy Chinatown decor that is close to being gentrified away, after East Asians suburbanized), which might add to the "East Asian" feeling, unlike the South Asian shops which may be in plazas farther away from where tourists see.
While this may be a factor, I don't think (my admittedly subjective) perceptions are due to Chinatown. I'm talking about the "professional class" downtown, like you see in the tunnels, office towers, condos and transit. Or shopping/dining. There's a very visible East Asian population, similar to Bay Area, while the South Asian population seems less obvious.

Random observation, but I was in the downtown Nordstrom last summer buying pants, and it seemed most shoppers were East Asian. Or maybe Chinese Canadians really like shopping, who knows.

It might also be that U.S. South Asians skew higher income than Canadian South Asians, so they're more represented (relative to population) in professional settings.
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Old Posted May 23, 2019, 1:32 PM
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People tend to think Arizona is far more Hispanic than it actually is, it has a smaller proportion of Hispanic residents than any other border state.
I'll add on another common misconception, often repeated on this forum:
"Phoenix is a retiree city." Or "The high population growth of Phoenix is due to old people flocking their in droves."

Both are false.

Phoenix is not a retiree city. It's median age is far lower than the U.S. and cities like New York.
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