The Great Migration may have come full circle. African-Americans are leaving large cities in the East and Midwest and moving to the South in the greatest numbers in decades, say demographers. Black New Yorkers especially have taken to the South—more than half of those who left the state in 2009 relocated to southern states. It's a sign of the inversion of the so-called "Great Migration" that saw African-Americans moving from from the South to industrialized northern cities between World War I and the '70s, reports the New York Times.
The downward spiral of the economy and high housing costs are part of the reason more middle-class black families are moving—a stark contrast to the historical drive for African-Americans to seek new opportunity outside of the once-segregated southern states. Many also see the move as a return to their heritage. “During the Great Migration, blacks went north because you could find work if you were willing to hustle," says a professor at George Mason University. "But today, there is less of a struggle to survive in the South than in New York. Many blacks also have emotional and spiritual roots in the South. It is like returning home.” (Read more African-Americans stories.)