A Black American mecca is becoming something other than that. From The New York Times:

For nearly a century, Harlem has been synonymous with black urban America. Given its magnetic and growing appeal to younger black professionals and its historic residential enclaves and cultural institutions, the neighborhood’s reputation as the capital of black America seems unlikely to change soon.

But the neighborhood is in the midst of a profound and accelerating shift. In greater Harlem, which runs river to river, and from East 96th Street and West 106th Street to West 155th Street, blacks are no longer a majority of the population — a shift that actually occurred a decade ago, but was largely overlooked.

By 2008, their share had declined to 4 in 10 residents. Since 2000, Harlem’s population has already grown more than in any decade since the 1940s, to 126,000 from 109,000, but its black population — about 77,000 in central Harlem and about twice that in greater Harlem — is smaller than at any time since the 1920s.

In 2008, 22 percent of the white households in Harlem had moved to their present homes within the previous year. By comparison, only 7 percent of the black households had.

“It was a combination of location and affordability,” said Laura Murray, a 31-year-old graduate student in medical anthropology at Columbia, who moved to Sugar Hill near City College about a year ago. “I feel a community here that I don’t feel in other parts of the city.”

Change has been even more pronounced in the narrow north-south corridor defined as central Harlem, which planners roughly define as north of 110th Street between Fifth and St. Nicholas Avenues.

There, blacks account for 6 in 10 residents, but native-born African-Americans born in the United States make up barely half of all residents. Since 2000, the proportion of whites living there has more than doubled, to more than one in 10 residents — the highest since the 1940s. The Hispanic population, which was concentrated in East Harlem, is now at an all-time high in central Harlem, up 27 percent since 2000.

Harlem, said Michael Henry Adams, a historian of the neighborhood and a local resident, “is poised again at a point of pivotal transition.”

Keep reading on the shift here.

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