white flight


Definition of white flight

: the departure of whites from places (such as urban neighborhoods or schools) increasingly or predominantly populated by minorities

Examples of white flight in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Unfortunately, the promising bustle of the 1950s and investment efforts in the 1960s gave way to the effects of white flight and disinvestment. Elise De Los Santos, chicagotribune.com, "Flashback: Englewood’s shopping district rivaled that of the Loop — but it fell victim to rise of suburban malls, white flight," 25 Dec. 2020 The city was in freefall: manufacturing jobs were disappearing; crime was surging; middle-class and white flight was stripping away the city’s tax base, eroding vital services and causing schools to fail. Akilah Johnson, ProPublica, "How COVID-19 Hollowed Out a Generation of Young Black Men," 22 Dec. 2020 Itta Bena has faced a slew of economic challenges throughout its history rooted in slavery, racial inequality, white flight and a declining tax base. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Curbside voting, labor at the polls, mask billboards: News from around our 50 states," 2 Nov. 2020 The white flight that took hold in the county has also ushered in more diversity and dynamic new leadership. Hollis R. Towns, USA TODAY, "From Southern lore to diverse community: Georgia's changing political makeup," 10 Nov. 2020 These areas, semi-suburban destinations of white flight, where the union members and their children grew up, are not so dissimilar from the western counties that turned out heavily for the president and will do so again. Nikil Saval, The New Republic, "The Future of the Democratic Party Is in Pennsylvania," 26 Oct. 2020 Itta Bena has faced a slew of economic challenges throughout its history rooted in racial inequality, white flight and a declining tax base. Leah Willingham, Star Tribune, "Mississippi city won't lose lights after threat over debt," 30 Oct. 2020 But Boustan also reports that one third of white residents who did live near Black neighborhoods were motivated to leave because of their Black neighbors—and many of these people contributed to white flight. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, "What Is White Flight?," 9 Oct. 2020 During the post-War period, the more affluent and largely white crowds departed urban centers for the suburbs in a social phenomenon called white flight. Stefanie Waldek, House Beautiful, "What Is Gentrification?," 1 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'white flight.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of white flight

1956, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about white flight

Time Traveler for white flight

Time Traveler

The first known use of white flight was in 1956

See more words from the same year

Statistics for white flight

Last Updated

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“White flight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20flight. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for white flight

white flight


English Language Learners Definition of white flight

US : an occurrence in which many white people move out of a city as more and more people of other races move in

Comments on white flight

What made you want to look up white flight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!