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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson panned the mainstream media for misreporting key facts regarding suburban demographics in scrutinizing and criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to reverse an Obama-era housing regulation.
Last month, the Trump administration reversed a rule, called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), that would have authorized HUD to get rid of single-family zoning and require that high-density, low-rent apartment buildings be constructed in suburban neighborhoods to achieve pre-determined racial quotas.
The administration dubbed the apartments as “stack and pack” housing that would destroy the quality of life in suburbs.
Shortly after the administration reserved the rule, the president was — predictably — label a racist.
But in an interview with Just The News, Carson pushed back, saying media critics were ignorant of the fact that a majority of minorities already live in suburbia.
“I’ve grown to expect little in the way of analysis or truth from most of the media,” the laid-back Carson said.
“So many of them said that our policy is racist, and we’re trying to keep suburbs white and silly stuff like that. You know, they don’t know the facts,” he continued.
“They don’t know that 52 percent of African-Americans live in the suburbs, that 60 percent of Hispanics live in the suburbs, 62 percent of Asian-Americans live in the suburbs,” he added.
Separately, Matt Schuck, HUD’s director of strategic communications, said the department analyzed the top 100 metropolitan regions of the country by population size to come up with the data.
But in fact, prior research has produced similar findings.
“Today, the majority — 52 percent — of African Americans in the nation’s top 100 metro areas live in the suburbs of those regions … In 2000, the majority — 55 percent — of African Americans in the 100 largest metro areas lived in the big cities that anchor those regions,” Alana Semuels wrote in The Atlantic in October 2016, citing research by Brookings Institution fellow Elizabeth Kneebone.
And in 2018, the Pew Research Center noted, “Urban and suburban counties are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse at a much faster pace than rural counties,” noting that since 2000, “the white population did not grow as sharply as other groups did, leading to a decline in the white share of the total U.S. and suburban populations.”
Both Trump and Carson defended the administration’s policy change in a July Wall Street Journal op-ed.
“We reject the ultraliberal view that the federal bureaucracy should dictate where and how people live. We believe the suburbs offer a wonderful life for Americans of all races and backgrounds when they are allowed to grow organically, from the bottom up,” they wrote.
“Americans of all walks of life have voted with their feet and put down roots in the suburbs. Across income segments and demographic groups, households have higher rates of homeownership in the suburbs than in urban centers,” they added. “Decades of liberal governance have tragically made many urban cities unaffordable and others unlivable, unable to provide for their citizens’ basic needs in housing, public safety and education.”
And Richard Florida, a noted urbanist and a distinguished visiting fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, wrote in 2019: “Today’s suburbs no longer look much like the lily-white places portrayed on 1950s and 1960s sitcoms.”
In his interview, Carson reiterated his and the president’s ‘go local’ stance when it comes to housing and zoning.
“What we’re saying is the suburbs — and the people who are responsible at the local level — can run it anywhere they want, they can build whatever they want, but let them do it, not the federal government,” he said. “Because we want people doing things who are responsible to the voters and therefore will work in a way that makes sense in their various localities.”
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