Kevin Gallagher and Sharon Almog, both teachers, considered moving to New Jersey with their two children several years ago when they were squeezed out of the apartment they were subletting in Stuyvesant Town, the sprawling complex that has long been a haven for working- and middle-class families in Manhattan. They considered moving again just recently while debating whether to renovate the 850-square-foot loft they own in Greenwich Village.
“We just didn’t want to think about leaving,” Mr. Gallagher said, “and we both said no.”
“The city is so attractive,” he said. “We go to a lot of theater and take the kids. My daughter played Little League. They go to public school. It’s a totally different vibe in the suburbs: Everything is spread out and you’re driving everywhere.”
The couple’s decision personifies a census benchmark that suggests another tiny step toward racial equilibrium in a city that had been challenged economically and socially by decades of white flight.
According to Census Bureau estimates released last week, in the year ending July 1, 2013, the city recorded the third consecutive gain in its non-Hispanic white population.
Mr. Gallagher said that even with the planned renovations, the couple’s apartment would be smaller than a suburban house, but the city was more compact and he could avoid driving, which he disliked.
“We sacrificed space,” he said, “but everything is within reach.”
And if there's one thing my wife and I have noticed since moving back to the city a month ago, it's that middle class families are staying in Chicago. As Hedley Lamarr would say, as in the clip above, "They're staying in droves!" The public schools are dramatically better and there are more private options than ever. More and more neighborhoods have gentrified; Chicago is even better than when we left it in 1992.