Ed Note (6/14/12): Be sure to see Mike's expanded list, "The 50 zip codes with the largest growth in white population share, 2000-2010"

For the past several years I’ve been obsessed with the issue of gentrification. Mostly that’s because of a book I’ve been writing about diverse public schools. What’s clear is that gentrification—for all of its downsides—is providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to integrate some of our schools—at least if we don’t let it go to waste.

So I was curious: Which communities in the U.S. are witnessing the greatest amount of gentrification? I started poking around Census Bureau data (with the assistance of some colleagues and the Census Bureau’s excellent help line) and here’s what I found. I looked at zip codes (which isn’t perfect, because boundaries can change) and places with a large increase in the white share of the population (which isn’t perfect, because you’d really want to look at changes in income levels, but those data aren’t available yet for 2010). With those caveats in mind, take a look:

Gentrification 2000-2010
* Non-Hispanic White

† These zip codes had a 2010 total population of less than 1,000. (Updated 6/12/12)

I’m not an expert on gentrification (education policy is my beat) but I was surprised by the list. I expected to see Chicago, Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., and Denver. But Chattanooga? Columbia, SC? Oklahoma City? St. Louis? This is not a phenomenon limited to a few of our great coastal cities. These gentrifying neighborhoods are literally all over the map.

View 25 Fastest Gentrifying Zip Codes, 2000-2010 in a larger map

Thank you for visiting our site. Not only do we create compelling blog content such as this, but we also release The Education Gadfly Weekly, our weekly newsletter that includes the latest opinions, news analysis, videos, podcasts, and more from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Thursday.

Mike Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, executive editor of Education Next, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education Commission of the States. An award-winning writer, he…

View Full Bio