February 20, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 8
Are the young and wealthy displacing the urban poor?
By Alan Greenblatt


Protesters gather at a seven-unit Victorian house (Getty Images/Robert Nickelsberg)
Protesters gather last April 11 at a seven-unit Victorian house in San Francisco purchased by Jack Halprin, a Google lawyer, who wants to evict the tenants and convert the building to single occupancy. Housing activists say the city's tech boom has led to skyrocketing rents and property values, forcing people with limited means to leave the city. (Getty Images/Robert Nickelsberg)

As rising numbers of young professionals, wealthy foreigners and baby boomers move to America's urban centers, they are bringing prosperity and new life to once-derelict neighborhoods. But the newcomers also are causing real estate values to soar, sparking concern that people with less means are being forced to move to lower-cost suburbs, where jobs and social services are scarcer and commutes longer. Some experts say fears about gentrification's negative effects are overblown. But advocates for the poor worry that gentrification is contributing to income disparity, leading several big-city mayors to seek ways to minimize the effects on low-income residents, such as expanding paid sick leave and living-wage requirements and mandating some affordable housing units in new residential developments. While many cities have embraced the prosperity that gentrification has spurred, experts question whether the changes are sustainable, especially if cities can't continue to appeal to younger residents as they begin raising families.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 23, 2022  Homelessness Crisis
Apr. 02, 2021  Evictions and COVID-19
Mar. 02, 2018  Affordable Housing Shortage
Nov. 06, 2015  Housing Discrimination
Feb. 20, 2015  Gentrification
Apr. 05, 2013  Homeless Students
Dec. 14, 2012  Future of Homeownership
Dec. 18, 2009  Housing the Homeless
Nov. 02, 2007  Mortgage Crisis Updated
Feb. 09, 2001  Affordable Housing
Jan. 06, 1989  Affordable Housing: Is There Enough?
Oct. 30, 1981  Creative Home Financing
Nov. 07, 1980  Housing the Poor
Dec. 21, 1979  Rental Housing Shortage
Nov. 24, 1978  Housing Restoration and Displacement
Apr. 22, 1977  Housing Outlook
Sep. 26, 1973  Housing Credit Crunch
Aug. 06, 1969  Communal Living
Jul. 09, 1969  Private Housing Squeeze
Mar. 04, 1966  Housing for the Poor
Apr. 10, 1963  Changing Housing Climate
Sep. 26, 1956  Prefabricated Housing
Sep. 02, 1949  Cooperative Housing
May 14, 1947  Liquidation of Rent Controls
Dec. 17, 1946  National Housing Emergency, 1946-1947
Mar. 05, 1946  New Types of Housing
Oct. 08, 1941  Rent Control
Aug. 02, 1938  The Future of Home Ownership
Sep. 05, 1934  Building Costs and Home Renovation
Nov. 20, 1933  Federal Home Loans and Housing
Nov. 17, 1931  Housing and Home Ownership
Economic Development
Fair Housing and Housing for Special Groups
Low Income and Public Housing
Public Transportation
Regional Planning and Urbanization
State and Local Taxes
Work and the Family