The homes in our neighborhood were, by and large, built around 1960. Many of our neighbors are the original owners of their homes and have lived in the neighborhood since it was transformed from farmland to houses.
However, the character and population of the neighborhood is clearly changing and the 2000 Census figures clearly bear this out.
In 2000, there were 5,037 residents in our census tract (roughly coincidental with what we would consider our neighborhood). Of those 5,037 people, 31%, or 1,560, were over the age of 60. That would neatly represent the folks who are the original owners of many homes (obviously, that is something of a generalization, but stay with me here).
The age grouping used by the census with the second largest population in our tract was the 25-34 year old group. That group had 801 members in 2000.
Since 2000, the number of 25-34 year-olds has only increased, while the number of 60+ year-olds has decreased as they sell their homes and move out of the neighborhood.
Our little block is a prime example of this trend. The man who lives four doors north of us is an original owner. He plans on moving out of his home when a new block of condos is completed three blocks to our north. The man who lives three doors north is an original owner. The people who live two doors north are relatively young. They purchased their home last summer. The family directly to our north is also young. They purchased their home last year from the original owner, as well.
The folks directly to our south are young. Their southern neighbors are young. The folks three doors south from us are our age. They purchased their home in the last year.
The man across the street is an original owner, retired, and well into his sixties. His neighbors to both sides are younger. They purchased their homes relatively recently.
Gentrification is a process that I often hear about, but never associate with my own actions. It is always something taking place in cities, most likely far away. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that Sarah and I were gentrifying a neighborhood as surely as if we had moved into a trendy loft in some big city’s warehouse district.