'White flight' from U.S. cities as minorities now
dominate eight of the country's biggest metro areas

By Daily Mail Reporter, 31 August 2011

Ethnic minorities now form a majority in eight of America's biggest metropolitan areas, according to new statistics.

Washington D.C. joins New York, San Diego, Las Vegas and Memphis in showing a 'white flight' from some of the countries most populated zones. The results highlighted a much wider national trend as it emerged non-Hispanic whites are now a minority in 22 of the country's 100-biggest urban areas.

Washington is among eight big-city metropolitan regions in which minorities became a majority in the past decade.

Speaking to the Washington Post, demographer with the Brookings Institution William Frey said: "What's happened is pivotal. Large metropolitan areas will be the laboratories for change. The measures they take to help minorities assimilate and become part of the labor force will be studied by other parts of the country that are whiter and haven't been touched as much by the change."

One of the reasons suggested for the shift was the ageing of the white population coupled with the relative youth of the Hispanic and Asian populations.

Demographers have been shocked by the rapid changes seen in Washington D.C. - particularly in the area's schools.

A report by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission noticed that student numbers had grown by almost 119,000 from 1995 to 2010.

The number of those students who were white rose by little over 1,000.

The news comes as the wealth gaps between whites and minorities grew to their widest levels in a quarter-century.

The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to new Census data released in July.

The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring.

The median wealth of white U.S. households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks, according to the analysis released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

Those ratios, roughly 20 to 1 for blacks and 18 to 1 for Hispanics, far exceed the low mark of 7 to 1 for both groups in 1995, when the nation's economic expansion lifted many low-income groups to the middle class, the Associated Press reports.