Saturday, January 30, 2016

Why No Dicussion of American Quilombos?

There's a rarely-told and barely-investigated history of escaped slave communities in the the southeast U.S. The significant groups are Black Seminoles (now relocated to Oklahoma and Texas), the Great Dismal Swamp maroons, and the Gullah community in South Carolina and lowland Georgia (much of which remains in the area, and which to some degree seems to have originated part of the two other populations). The Black Seminoles were closely associated with, but it seems still culturally distinct from, the other mostly native renegades who arrived in the swamps as they fled British and then American forces. These are immediately reminiscent of quilombos in Brazil, which were the same thing but along the Amazon and its tributaries.

These communities formed from escaped slaves; that is to say, from people who "suffered" from drapetomania (can you believe antebellum physicians diagnosed this condition after being asked to solve the great mystery of why slaves would try to escape?) Several things about this are striking; for example the understated influence of the Caribbean colonies on southeastern U.S. culture (listen to this Gullah speaker's accent when she's speaking English. She's a native-born South Carolinian!)

The question is why the quilombos seem to be a much more present part of Brazilian history than these communities are a part of American history. Both countries have a history of slavery; there must be something else associated with this difference.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

U.S. City Population Growth and Location, 2010-2014

Statistics from the Wikipedia list of U.S. cities by population, with numbers for 2010 and 2014 for cities 100,000 and over. My analysis excludes Kent, WA and Macon, GA which had non-organic annexations.

Cities that gained population had, on average, 297,130 people. Cities that lost had, on average, 223,384 people. The smaller you are, the smaller you get. A scatter plot (log or absolute population) was not very informative, other than to show that the shrinking cities were all smaller. The largest city that lost population was (hold your breath) Detroit, which lost 33,522, or 4.7% over 4 years - that annualizes to 1.2% lost per year.

Cities of 100,000 or more added 4,099,428, a 5.02% growth rate for growing cities for 2010-2014 (annualized to 1.23%).1111

In the same period, cities of 100,000 or more lost 65,007, a -1.46% loss rate for shrinking cities for 2010-2014 (annualized to -0.366%).

This means on net, cities over 100,000 added a total of 4,034,421 people, for an overall growth rate of 4.68% (annualized to 1.15%).

Compare this, for the same period, to a US population growth of 3.28% (0.809% per year). Cities above 100,000 grew faster than the country as a whole.

The center of growth was at 36.232 N, 99.661 W (western Oklahoma).

The center of shrinking, on average, were at 38.145, 84.188 (suburbs of Lexington, KY). Not surprising that there's more growth to the west (and somewhat to the south).

Weighting it by % gain or loss, it doesn't move very much. The center of shrinking moves about 40 miles, and the center of growth moves less than that.