inner cityLast updated
Inner city is a coded term for the generally more densely populated city center in an urban area. Historically, the term is frequently associated with African American and Black neighborhoods and areas. The term was used especially in academic work tracing the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to urban areas in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western states (1910-1970).
“White flight,” or the migration of white residents out of cities into suburbs and exurbs, is closely associated with how cities are racially segregated and part of why “inner city” has the connotation that it does. In general, providing some explanation when using phrasing like “inner city” and “white flight” is helpful for clarity, but using more specific language can avoid the subtext these terms are weighted with. That could be a description like “neighborhood where X percent of the population is below the federal poverty line” or simply referring to the neighborhoods affected.
- What Does “Inner City” Mean, Anyway? (Complex)
- The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City (Harvard Business Review)
- Racism in real estate: Landlords, redlining, housing values, and discrimination (Slate)
Inner city is a coded term for a densely populated and generally less wealthy section of a city. Clearer, more precise language would be a description like “neighborhood where X percent of the population is below the federal poverty line” or simply referring to the neighborhood(s) affected.