The Gentrification of Harlem?



The process of gentrification has begun to affect the majority of large and moderately sized urban areas in the advanced capitalist world, and impressionistic reports suggest that Harlem may be undergoing gentrification. After reviewing some of the debates and arguments in the gentrification literature, we identify a number of indicators from 1980 census data and examine other housing and mortgage data through 1984. The results suggest that indeed gentrification has begun but that there are several potential limitations to the process. The number of wealthy black households in Harlem is relatively small, and if gentrification proceeds it will lead eventually to white in-migration and to the displacement of blacks.