Who'd of thought it? Big news in the USA Today this morning about a study by Lance Freeman of Columbia looking at national data on gentrification. Turns out the poor are not displaced from gentrified neighborhoods any more than non-gentrified ones.
The poor like the improvements that come with gentrification too, and stay if they can. The poor also move a lot, so as some move out anyway, in gentrified areas they are often replaced by folks with more money. Not displaced.
Why do so many think there is a forcing out of the poor with gentrification? I think it is a salience effect. The study finds a lot of moving going on, and when new poor people move in to replace those who left, nothing changes, and only their friends notice. But when a poor family leaves and is replaced by college students or bohemian artists, that is a change and people notice.
Now, you could argue that a poor family would have moved in there if not for gentrification, so they are forced out in a sense. But at the same time, the vast majority of poor who stay in a neighborhood really benefit from the improvements.