The Big Apple has been seeing a huge economic boom in the past 15 years or so because of its rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, with the number of new storefronts and companies bumping up by some 45 percent. However, that good fortune has not extended to everyone, with black-owned businesses seeing a significant decline over the past few years.
According to a report by BuzzFeed, from 2007 to 2012, the number of black-owned businesses in New York City declined by more than 30 percent even while the number of black-owned businesses in other big cities across the country increased. As the site notes, New York, Detroit and Jacksonville, Fla., are the only cities with more than 500 black-owned business that have seen such a decline.
“When black-owned businesses decline, I’m alarmed. When local residents are priced out of their neighborhoods, I’m frustrated. We have to do better,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer told BuzzFeed. “We need to focus on real, community-level wealth creation. When we talk about gentrification, we can’t just focus on rising rents or increased cost of living—we also need to ensure that local residents gain access to new, local jobs.”
Some reasons cited for the decline include the fact that the black community is becoming a smaller percentage of New York City’s population, as well as the exposure of black business owners to the retail sector, which suffered a major hit during the financial crisis and continues to face other stress factors.
Black New Yorkers make up some 22 percent of the city’s population but own only 3 percent of local business, with the numbers becoming more and more dismal in the past five years; the only exception is in the health care and social-assistance industries.
Ownership in construction, accommodation and food services, as well as in professional, scientific and technical services, has taken a major hit.
“The decline in black-owned companies demonstrates that the benefits of economic growth aren’t broadly distributed,” Stringer said.
Read more at BuzzFeed.