Georgians have a probably apocryphal story about Andrew Young, the black former mayor of Atlanta and ambassador to the United Nations. In an address at historically black Clark Atlanta University, Mr. Young talked about white flight. “No matter where they go,” he said, “we will follow. No matter how far away they move, we will follow. They can’t escape us.”
It seems the only thing non-whites dislike more than white people is being forced to live among their own people. Mayor Young was right, since blacks always follow whites fleeing from the crime, property devaluations, and poor school systems created by others.
The “Black Undertow” swallowed DeKalb and Clayton counties, turning them from thriving majority-white counties into majority-black counties resembling those whites had fled from in the first place. The recent Georgia governor’s race between white Republican Brian Kemp and black Democrat Stacey Abrams reflected this pattern; Mr. Kemp squeezed out the narrowest of victories.
Miss Abrams has a record as a Confederate-baiter. As a college student she joined a burning of the Atlanta state flag that incorporated the Battle Flag. As a candidate, she vowed to sandblast the Confederate carving at Stone Mountain if elected. Yet she will almost certainly be a future candidate for the U.S. Senate, and the demographic transformation ensures that she becomes more likely to win with each election cycle.
CNN Exit Polls for the governor’s race showed Mr. Kemp got 74 percent of the white vote, while Miss Abrams got 84 percent of the non-white vote (including 93 percent of the black vote). Whites make up 60 percent of the electorate in Georgia.
Yet it’s the data from the metro Atlanta area that reveals the extent of the state’s transformation. In my definition, Metro Atlanta consists of Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Henry, Fayette and Douglas Counties. It represents the 9th largest metropolitan area in the USA.
The city of Atlanta is in both Fulton and DeKalb County; the other seven counties are where whites fled after blacks took over the city government in 1973.
In 1980, Cobb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Fayette and Douglas Counties all were more than 90 percent white. DeKalb County—which included part of Atlanta itself—was 71.3 percent white.
By 2018, every metro Atlanta county had seen its white percentage of the population drop, sometimes catastrophically. In 1980, Clayton County was 91.7 percent white. In 2018, it is 11.2 percent white. Dekalb County has gone from 71.3 percent white to 29.5 percent white.
Douglas County was 94.3 percent white in 1980, but is now 44.7 percent white. The black population, 5.7 percent in 1980, is 43.6 percent today. Rockdale County was 90.4 percent white in 1980 but is now just 35.6 percent white. The black population grew from 9.6 percent to 51.1 percent.
Fayette is the only metro Atlanta county that still has a sizable white majority, but it has dropped from 95 percent white in 1980 to 65.2 percent white today. Not surprisingly, Fayette was the only metro county Brian Kemp won—with 56.5 percent of the vote. Miss Abrams won Fulton with 73 percent, DeKalb with 83 percent, Clayton with 87 percent, Cobb with 54 percent, and Gwinnett with 56.5 percent.
Let us recall that Gwinnett County—38.2 percent white today—was 96.6 percent white in 1980. Governing magazine recognized the electoral implications a decade ago:
In 1990, Gwinnett was 91 percent white. Now, it is a different place altogether. . . . Marina Peed, an affordable housing developer who works county-wide, says that ‘there’s no lily white anymore anywhere in the county. I doubt if there’s a single all-white subdivision in the whole county.’
Today, Gwinnett has large populations of blacks, Hispanics and (perhaps most surprisingly) Asians. The county has substantial populations from Indian and Vietnam, as well as people of Asian (especially Korean) descent who are from elsewhere in the United States.
Gwinnett is now 21.6 percent Hispanic and 12.4 percent Asian.
As Andrew Young predicted, whites in the Atlanta area are running out of counties to run to. Diversity has all but overwhelmed the white conservative vote, as Georgia moves closer to being majority-minority—down from 70.1 percent white in 1990.
And though 73 percent of white men voted for Mr. Kemp and along with 75 percent of white women, the rising tide of color will soon make it mathematically impossible for a Republican to win statewide. Stacey Abrams got 88 percent of the black male vote and 97 percent of the black female vote.
Whites who fled metro Atlanta only momentarily escaped diversity. Unless whites stop running and begin to fight back, Stone Mountain will be sandblasted—which will then become a monument to the immortal truth that demography really is electoral destiny.