By Stephen Magagnini | OBSERVER Editor-In-Chief
Sacramento, like many other cities in California with links to jobs in industry and on military bases, became home to thousands of Southern African Americans during The Great Migration between 1916 and 1970. Some 6 million African Americans left primarily the rural South and headed West for better economic and social opportunities.
Over the last 40 years, Sacramento’s Black community has grown by more than 250 percent. During that period of time, Sacramento was one of the only cities in California that consistently grew its Black population as urban refugees from the Bay Area and Southern California moved here for more affordable homes and a better, less-expensive lifestyle.
Now, driven by Sacramento’s increasingly high cost of living and escalating home prices, more African Americans are moving out instead of moving in, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. Some are leaving Sacramento’s traditional Black enclaves in Oak Park and Meadowview. Others are resettling in majority White and more conservative South Placer County, which is also attracting other people of color seeking lower costs and better performing schools.
Over the next three weeks, The OBSERVER will be presenting “Black Faces In New Places,” a series of stories revealing the changing African American demographics of the region. Produced by Sacramento State journalism students under the guidance of nationally known data expert Phillip Reese, the series reveals some startling numbers and sheds light on the recent migration patterns of Black Sacramentans.