[personal profile] xmc
I just got back from a weekend trip to St Louis, to visit a good friend. While I was there I continued my campaign of observing how American cities differ. I come from Seattle, a place which I increasingly am understanding is ... atypical. For example, there are some aspects of American history which are taught in schools but I basically disbelieved because there isn't much visible evidence of them where I'm from.

One of these is "white flight", the phenomenon of white people leaving cities for the suburbs in the middle decades of the 20th century. Seattle never really experienced that, and what it did experience was mostly recovered from by the time that I became conscious of it. So when I was in middle school, I discounted its significance. All the textbooks said it was a nationwide issue, and I'm in the nation, and I don't see evidence of this thing, so why should I believe these books?

I've also never seen an urban area which has significantly fewer people now than it had 40 years ago. St Louis has 319,000 residents in 2010 and peaked at 856,000 in the 1950 census. That means it currently has 37% of the people whom it has historically supported. It's frightening to see.

(There was another totally worthwhile thing that I noticed, which belongs right here logically, but I forget it. If I remember I'll add it later.)



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