Reporters Sophia Tareen and Mike Schneider were both curious about learning where Black people in the United States are growing in number and where their population is shrinking. They combined their expertise — Tareen as a Chicago-based race and ethnicity writer and Schneider as an Orlando, Florida-based census writer. Joined by photographers Nam Huh and Mat Otero, the result was a pair of telling stories: one that found Black residents have been leaving some of the nation’s largest cities for the suburbs, and another about Black growth in less-congested cities with lower profiles.
Tareen focused on the Black Chicago neighborhood of Roseland and the Chicago suburb of Lansing for her story on Black migration patterns changing the makeup of metropolitan areas nationwide. While New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia all lost Black residents from 2010 to 2020, the change was especially notable in Chicago, which gained population overall but lost 85,000 Black people, according to the 2020 census.
Schneider’s story on Black growth in less congested cities found that cities like Fort Worth, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina, each gained between 32,000 and 40,000 new Black residents from 2010 to 2020, according to the census figures.
The stories complemented each other but also stood on their own as strong enterprise work. Other news organizations had done their own pieces on Black population trends, but none with the depth and range of the AP package. As census editor Scott Stroud pointed out: “They encapsulated the big picture and captured the implications at the ground level in a textured, people-based way“ Photographers Huh and Otero, in Chicago and Dallas respectively, captured the subjects of the stories in a series of portraits that elevated the package.
The stories played well with AP customers and on social media, and Tareen and Schneider discussed their work on Chicago radio.