(USA Today) — The black population is declining in a growing number of major cities — more evidence that the settlement pattern of African Americans is changing as they disperse to suburbia and warmer parts of the nation.2010 Census data released so far this year show that 20 of the 25 cities that have at least 250,000 people and a 20% black population either lost more blacks or gained fewer in the past decade than during the 1990s. The declines happened in some traditional black strongholds: Chicago, Oakland, Atlanta, Cleveland and St. Louis. The loss is fueled by three distinct trends:
•Blacks — many in the middle or upper-middle class — leaving cities for the suburbs.
•Blacks leaving Northern cities for thriving centers in the South.
•The aging of the African-American population, whose growth rate has dropped from more than 16% in the 1990s to about 10% since 2000.
“In the Northern cities, a lot of young blacks who might have grown up in cities are leaving maybe the entire region,” says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data. “They’re going to the Sun Belt and particularly the South. The ones who stay in the area want to move to the suburbs.”