In contrast, middle-class blacks from the North who migrated to Southern states such as Georgia, Florida and Texas fared better, maintaining higher incomes than African-Americans who remained in declining industrial centers such as Michigan and Ohio.
Other bright spots in the housing bust included urban, high-tech college meccas that are proving to be a draw for young, college-educated adults of all races and ethnicities. The data covering 2008-2010 show that Raleigh, N.C.; Austin, San Antonio and Houston, Texas; Denver; Pittsburgh; and Baltimore and Washington, D.C., all of which tend to promise specialized tech jobs and hip lifestyles, had some of the biggest gains in residents.
William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer who reviewed the education and race data, said many of these cities will continue to attract new residents after the economy fully recovers. He said other cities must seek ways to diversify their industries, draw new investment and build partnerships with local universities to attract young talent, much like Pittsburgh has been striving to do after the collapse of its steel industry.
"Right now, the 'cool' cities are serving as way stations for the small number of adventurous young people who are willing to move in a down economy. But when the broader economy picks up, a much larger group of people will move to wherever the jobs spring up," Frey said, noting that people are staying put for now because they have to, not because they want to.
"We are now just in a lull, albeit a hyperextended one," he said.
—Texas posted increases in average income across all race groups even after the housing bust. Washington, D.C., had the biggest overall gain in average income between 2005-2007 and 2008-2010 time periods — increasing 9 percent to nearly $60,000; 36 states had declines.
—Washington, D.C., New York, Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and California have levels of income inequality that rise above the national average. Broken down by large metropolitan areas, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Memphis, Tenn., New Orleans, San Francisco, and Birmingham, Ala., each had wider-than-average gaps between rich and poor.
—Across smaller areas of geography, Fountainhead-Orchard Hills, Md., just north of Hagerstown, had the greatest measured income inequality; Country Knolls, N.Y., near Albany, registered the least.
—Suburban and rural homeowners were more likely to stay put than others. Some 93.5 percent of the suburban and 93.7 percent of the rural population in owner-occupied units are residing in the same house as one year ago, up from the 2005-2007 time period, according to Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire.
—Renters were more mobile: Overall, 68.8 percent lived in the same rental unit one year ago.
The findings were based on the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey as of March 2011, as well as comparisons of the 2005-2007 and the 2008-2010 American Community Survey to provide a snapshot of every U.S. community with at least 20,000 residents. Figures on income inequality come from a census analysis of survey data from 2005-2009.