Black Americans are moving more than they ever have over the past 50 years, and just as during the Great Migration of the 20th century, they’re reshaping the entire fabric of the United States as they do.

As Black folks leave the West, Midwest, and North, the South has been the only region with more people moving in than out since 2000. In the aftermath, everything is being impacted, from the economy to politics, housing to education, and, of course, culture. While we’ve spent more than a year and a half reporting on this phenomenon, we wanted you to better understand just how monumental this moment is. Other newsrooms, researchers, and academics have also dedicated significant energy and manpower to mapping this migration and its impact.

Here is some suggested reading:

Articles

A ‘New Great Migration’ is bringing Black Americans back to the South

In this comprehensive look at U.S. Census Bureau data over the past fifty years, demographer William Frey maps the trajectory of Black migration. It breaks down where people are moving to and from and the social characteristics of migrants, like age and income status.

Still looking for a ‘Black mecca,' the new Great Migration

This Washington Post feature outlines the family trajectory of three Black American families who, after settling in different cities across the Midwest during the first Great Migration, have found themselves living in some of the South’s growing Black hubs in search of safety and stability. 

Why We’re Covering the Next Black Exodus

This series examines how Black growth and decline are reshaping politics in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. While much reporting has focused on how Black migration is transforming the South, this feature examines how the Black exodus has left a hole in once-Black cities. It is underscored by larger demographic shifts across the country as Latino populations increase. 

Walking with the Ghosts of Black Los Angeles

In this personal essay, Ismail Muhammad interrogates how Black Los Angeles moves forward as its population continuously shrinks. In Muhammad’s view, the city is “a space characterized as much by loss and absence as by the vibrant creativity of the people who call it home.” 

Why Black Families Are Leaving New York, and What It Means for the City

Since 2000, New York City’s Black population has declined by 200,000. “It has alarmed Black leaders, as well as economists who point to labor shortages in industries like nursing where Black workers have traditionally been overrepresented,” writes Troy Closson and Nicole Hong.

‘All the things a city can have.' Here's why some are calling Charlotte a ‘Black mecca'

In Charlotte, North Carolina, where the Black population is growing 10 times faster than the Black population nationally, residents believe the city could soon overtake Atlanta as the country’s “Black mecca.” 

Books

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

In this award-winning book, Wilkerson narrates the experiences of three Black Southerners who settled across the country during the middle of the 20th century. Their lives have serious implications for today’s migration. 

Landscapes of Hope: Nature and the Great Migration in Chicago by Brian McCammack

In this historical novel, McCammack explains how new Black Midwesterners utilized environmental justice practices while living in a new land defined by concrete and bricks rather than the rural land that represented the South. Today’s migrants are experiencing the reversal. 

Listen and watch

South to Black Power 

In the documentary, Charles M. Blow, a New York Times columnist, argues that Black Americans should move South to increase Black political power across the volatile region. It is currently available for viewing only on HBO and the company’s streaming platform. 

TED Talks Daily: The case for a new Great Migration in the US 

In this TED Talk, Blow makes a similar argument (but in 10 minutes instead of 1.5 hours). 

Adam Mahoney is the climate and environment reporter at Worldacad. Twitter @AdamLMahoney