Where are all the rich people fleeing from?

Many cities have been experiencing a lot of gentrification recently. In order for rich people to be flocking to these cities, they must also be leaving somewhere else. What are the places that the well-off are leaving behind?


Do you think there is some universal law of conservation of rich people or something?

No, but movement of rich people contributes more to gentrification than current residents becoming rich does.

They’re moving back from the suburbs.

They don’t have kids or schools to worry about.

A lot of malls are closing and it now makes sense to be back downtown.

You don’t really mean rich people. You mean upper middle class. In absolute numbers, rich people are rare.

When Pew somewhat arbitrarily defines middle class as households making between two-thirds to double the median income, they’re seeing a shrinking middle class, mostly offset by an increase in households making more than double the median.

Sure. But the actual income distribution puts most of the wealth into the hands of a very small number of uber and hyper-rich. Hence it’s not really reasonable to say someone making 150k as a household is “rich”, there’s a far smaller group making well over 400k.

The rich have multiple residences. Don’t you realize if you average a few weeks in a particular city over the course of a year it’s more convenient to have a residence there? Likewise another residence in any other city which meets this criteria.

Sometimes, when a rich man and a rich woman love each other very much, then they have some rich babies, therefore increasing the number of rich people in the world. Then these rich babies grow up and they need somewhere to live, too.

Probably this. Back when they first got married, it would have been normal to have kids in their 20’s. So, by the time they are in their 40’s they can start to gather some income. Not just because the kids are out of the house, but work experience and more income from that. Yeah, you’ll start to accumulate wealth quickly.

Me? I’d go for multiple “tiny house” things in various outdoorsy locations. An 1/8 of an acre is more than enough.

Around here the truly rich have large estates in certain communities. We found out about them because they were the biggest water wasters during the drought.

I search for condo prices in San Francisco. Most required you call them (if you have to ask, you can’t afford it) but I did find some for $1.1 million for 1100 sq ft, Which is actually not that expensive - the latest sales for my town had a lot of 1400 sq ft houses for $1 million or a bit more, and we aren’t as tony as SF. I didn’t see which neighborhood the condos were in - they might be in not so great ones.

It shows that if you want to downsize a bit you can move from the suburbs to the city fairly easily.

Sadness and disappointment.

If you look at a place like London, where even a tiny two-bed house can cost £1m plus, it does make you wonder. Rich people move into the upper-class areas where houses and flats can cost £5m. This pushes the original owners (cashing in their windfall) to poorer areas, where, with plenty of available cash, they begin or extend ‘gentrification’. And so it goes on.

Not everyone wants to live in a cabin in the woods, or even a country estate.

Quite often they’re not even moving from that far away; they were living in the same city, but in a different part of it.

The Old Town of the town I grew up with was almost abandoned in the late 60s and 70s, as new homes were built in a previously-uninhabited area and people moved there (running water! toilets!). Very few people remained and there were many parts where you really, really didn’t want to walk by yourself, simply because if you fell down and broke something no-one would hear you scream. For 20-30 years, the houses those people still owned in Old Town would be used either never, or only in the summer by teenagers*. And starting in the late 90s, some of those former-teenagers, now looking to move back into town after college, or for their marriage home, recovered their parents’ or grandparents’ old house and rebuilt it inside-out. It went from being an empty shell for most of the year to being more occupied than quite a few of the parts of town built in the last bubble.

The people moving into an area don’t need to be fleeing anything: they’re just wanting to move to a certain area, and it may happen that the sub-area to which they move is being renovated. I wanted to move to Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia district but ended up in Hospitalet’s Collblanc - also known as Coolblanc.

  • It’s quite common in most of Spain under different names. We called them cuartos, “rooms”: a group of friends will rent an empty place for a few weeks in the summer as a hangout place. Often the payment is in labor; for example, our cuarto was atop a bar and we paid for it by waitressing during rush hour.

The OP used two Ill-defined and conflicting terms. Gentrification is not the influx of the rich, however you want to define them. A poor neighborhood that becomes middle class is gentrified. But even if you use Pew’s “highest” income tier, who make more than three times the median, their share has more than double and are now 9% of the population, up from 4% in 1971.

Suppose an affluent couple raised kids in the suburbs. Those kids get good educations and high paying jobs in a big city. They’re young and single and want to be where the action (and nightlife and good restaurants) is, so they’d much rather live downtown than commute from a suburb.

Look at downtown Austin- it’s now filled with yuppies who grew up in wealthy suburbs of Dallas and Houston, but who went to college in Austin and stayed after graduating. MAYBE they’ll go to the suburbs later if they ever marry or have kids… but maybe not. Crime is very low downtown, and I see a lot of young moms with strollers there.

I agree the discussion so far is confused by different definitions. But ‘gentrified’ implies as you say poor or working class>upper middle class in urban areas. It doesn’t generally imply billionaires having one of their homes in a formerly poorer urban neighborhood.

The distribution of income has changed so that as you say there’s a larger % of jobs a fair degree or multiple of the median. Whether 3 times the national median is really ‘rich’ in a given potentially high cost urban area (NY area say) is beside the point. People are moving into the neighborhood who are richer than the people who were there before. And it isn’t entirely people moving in and out. In the ‘gentrified’ city I live in right near NY the population has ~doubled in the last 30 yrs. People moving out and passing away were perhaps predominantly less well off, but there’s been lots of net inflow, lots of net new construction of residential units.

Also, people are different ages (I’ve noticed :slight_smile: ). A somewhat derisive term for people moving into a ‘gentrified’ neighborhood is ‘yuppies’. Many are ‘y’ enough they didn’t head an upper middle class household anywhere else previously. They were part of parents’ households, at schools, in immediate post college squalor (well some still are here) etc. Now they’ve taken one of the 2 or 3 or more times national median jobs that are much more numerous in today’s NY area job than they used to be. And they are (at least in the relatively early stages) less eager to add to the population in well off suburbs, so they add to it here.

The real choice comes when the kids reach school age.