A new report by The Washington Post highlights Durham as a top destination for newcomers in recent years.
The Post’s Andrew Van Dam analyzed four years of census data, breaking down who is moving where and how those patterns vary by race.
The data suggests North Carolinians are packing up and heading to Durham, and that—when the numbers are adjusted for population—Durham is a popular destination for black, Asian, and white newcomers but isn’t attracting as many new Hispanic residents.
Because of its midsize population, Durham doesn’t register as one of the top ten destinations for people who moved from 2012–16. By that measure, New York City took the top spot overall and among people moving from different counties, states, and countries. But looking at newcomers as a share of a city’s total population, Durham’s rank rises among particular groups.
“As we’ve seen before, established population centers dominate any chart based on population. With few exceptions, smaller, trendier towns such as Durham, N.C., don’t make the cut regardless of their universities or economy,” the article reads. “But when we adjust for size, the Durham-Chapel Hill area, in the heart of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, ranks in the top 10 destinations for Asian (5th), white (6th) and black (7th) movers. Overall, it ranks up with Virginia Beach and Colorado Springs as the metro areas with the highest share of recent arrivals.”
Durham ranks as the only Southern city seeing a surge of new Asian residents as a share of the total population. Among white movers, the city ranks alongside Virginia Beach, and among black movers, it’s slightly more popular than Memphis. Newcomers from a different county make up about 6 percent of the Durham’s population, according to the report.
Durham also appeared as one of the fastest-changing destinations, based on which demographic has the most new faces in the city. This, Van Dam writes, can be skewed by small numbers. By this measure, Durham ranks first among Asians and third among whites.
According to census data, Durham County’s population is about 42 percent white, 38 percent black, 13 percent Hispanic or Latino, and 5 percent Asian. In 2000, the population was about 48 percent white, 40 percent black, 8 percent Hispanic or Latino, and 3 percent Asian.
“Look up and down the columns for each race and ethnicity, note the regions and states where each has a substantial new presence,” Van Dam writes, “and you’ll recognize how millions of moves to hundreds of places are literally changing the faces of midsize American metro areas.”