“I live in this neighborhood too, though”: The psychosocial effects of gentrification on low-income black men living in Washington, D.C.

Article

Focus Areas: Health & Wellness

Abstract

Gentrification-the process by which middle-class individuals (often White) move into lower-income neighborhoods (often Black), consequently displacing existing residents and changing the neighborhood’s social character-is a relatively new and rapid phenomenon in Washington, DC. From 2000 to 2010, DC had the second fastest rate of gentrification in the USA. Gentrification is a major and disproportionate source of disadvantage for low-income Black DC residents. In light of the relative dearth of psychological research focused on gentrification, this study sought to answer the following research questions: What are Black men’s experiences with gentrification in DC and how are Black men psychosocially affected by the gentrification of their neighborhoods? Data used in this study were obtained in Fall 2013 via nine semi-structured focus groups from nine DC neighborhood clusters. Participants were 83 self-identified Black men between the ages of 18 and 48 (M = 29.96, SD = 6.90) who reported predominantly low socioeconomic status. Black men’s experiences with gentrification in DC included experiencing changing demographics and spaces, being discriminated against by police, blaming the Black community for gentrification and displacement and recognizing the positives of gentrification. Gentrification had negative psychosocial effects on participants, including race-based social exclusion, restricted mobility, reduced social cohesion and sense of community belonging, loss of control, and internalized blame. It is imperative that psychologists and other health professionals recognize and further explore the psychosocial and health consequences of gentrification on longtime Black residents and promote solutions to reduce the stress associated with this understudied driver of racial/ethnic health inequities.

Holt, S. L., Del Río-gonzález, A. M., Massie, J. S., & Bowleg, L. (2020). “I live in this neighborhood too, though”: The psychosocial effects of gentrification on low-income black men living in Washington, D.C. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-020-00870-z