Washington (AP) - Census estimates show the nation's blacks are leaving big cities in the Northeast and Midwest at the highest levels in decades. They are returning to fast-growing states in the once-segregated South in search of better job opportunities and quality of life.
The South - places such as Atlanta, Dallas and Houston - accounted for roughly 75 percent of the population gains among blacks since 2000. The gains came at the expense of Northern metro areas such as New York and Chicago, which posted their first declines in black population since at least 1980.
In all, about 57 percent of U.S. blacks now live in the South, a jump from the 53 percent share in the 1970s.
The findings are expected to be highlighted in official 2010 results that show changes in the nation's non-Hispanic black populations.