No, The Gentrifiers Really Aren’t Coming From Ohio

No, the gentrifiers really aren't coming from Ohio
Yeah, we know, we know. (Image via WeHeartIt)

I’ve been saying for a long time that all the “GO BACK TO OHIO!!!” venom aimed at faceless gentrifiers is a crock. The real enemies are the hedge fund types or parent-bankrolled transplants from nearby wealthy suburbs, the kind of people who think condos are a perfectly nice place to live and have made the Levee a crowded shell of its former self, not gentle mid-western transplants taking a crack at the big city. Well, now data backs me up!

Via Curbed, a site called Spokeo crunched the numbers using cell phone data (most people don’t get a new phone with the area code of their new city when they move, you see), and lo and behold, of the top 20 cities sourcing New York’s transplants, not a one of them is in Ohio. Other than Chicago, none of them are even in the midwest at all! See below:

Top 20 cities generating New York's transplants.

This data mostly confirms what we already knew; people from Jersey like to move to the big cities, coastal cities are constantly swapping residents back and forth, and people from Florida do everything in their power to get the hell out. Mostly, though, we can finally put this Ohio trope to bed, and focus our ire where it belongs: on people from Jersey, or even worse, from D.C. If we’re going to have shout-y gentrification debates, may as well get them right.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


  1. You’ve leapt on this one little morsel of information and have ignored the fact that in the past 10 years ALMOST NOTHING of your reporting has been accurate about the gentrification of Williamsburg. And so you create this straw man out of your opponents–“all of them are saying agents of gentrification are coming from Ohio. But they are so wrong. And we are so right!” Really? Where did you come to this characterization? Which of your respondents exactly have made this claim? Is it possible, entirely, that you are projecting an imagination, a delicious one at that, about your equally imagined respondents?

    It’s a sign of how compromised gentrification reporting is that reporters are basing “what it is” on their personal relationships and experiences–“I’m a ‘hipster’ and my social circle is ‘hipster’ so I will exclude them without any genuine introspection. Then I will condemn the use of cliches by resorting to cliched characterizations about “all those others, not me, doing this gentrification”–such as your “…hedge fund types or parent-bankrolled transplants from nearby wealthy suburbs, the kind of people who think condos are a perfectly nice place to live and have made the Levee a crowded shell of its former self.” Really? This is everyone who comes into Williamsburg, not just to live, but to consume? Let’s get some shit straight: your straw man is as thin as the straw man you condemn.

    It is because most of these reporters are actively engaged in this gentrification, that this article, along with Gothamist’s, should be so delicious for them, so exuberant for agents of gentrification wanting again “to pin the blame on someone else,” and about asking “others” to eat crow. But let’s not make a list of all the inaccuracies reported by you or your paper about gentrification in these past 5 or 6 years or so, how you’ve stymied debate by all that you’ve excluded about “what gentrification really is.” That would flood the Internet. Give us a break about your equally imagined “shout-y debates.” The “shout-y debates” around here wouldn’t ripple across puddles. If anything, YOU NEED a shout-y debate.

  2. Excuse me, when I said “past 10 years” I was, possibly unfairly, conflating your reporting with ALL gentrification reporting in new Brooklyn media. That is largely because though Gothamist and other venues are to the Right of your venue, when it comes to reporting on “the origins of gentrification” there has been a consistent lock-step of denial between ALL of you.

  3. I feel like less than 1 in 100 New Yorkers I meet are originally from the midwest – kinda odd to generalize groups of people as from Ohio – when there are so few of them in reality.

    • Correction. You cannot be a New Yorker and not be born and raised in New York City. Being a New Yorker isn’t something that is earned, it is something you’re born into. You don’t get to claim being a New Yorker after living in the city for five, fifteen, thirty, or sixty years. If you weren’t born and raised here, you’ll never be a New Yorker.

  4. ayyye go DMV!!! DC in tha house! we outchea! takin ova Brooklyn!
    Haha I knew we represented pretty heavily when it comes to relocating. It’s something about being in a small city that draws us all to the bigger city. It’s the most logical place to transplant bc it’s not too far and not too close. It’s the next best thing.

    • You think ruining a city and way of life that was shared by generations of native New Yorkers is funny? You think destroying neighborhoods and driving people from their familial homes/apartments is funny?

      You entitled twat. Go back to D.C..

  5. While I would LOVE to jump on this, as a person from Michigan who is blamed for ruining all of NYC forever, this presentation of the data doesn’t refute the premise it’s trying to refute.
    You’d have to present the info listed by state, not city. To skew the numbers, let’s say 1 million people moved to NYC, each from 1 million small towns in Ohio. In addition to that, 2 people moved from each of those top 20 cities listed above. In that case the list would look the same, but it would only represent 40 people and 1 million others would go uncounted.
    I hate how annoying I am being right now. But if I am going to drop this article on my h8rs, I need to know the data STANDS UP TO THE TEST!

  6. EVERYONE in NYC either was not born thereā€¦ or the decedent of someone who wasn’t. It’s that coming and going and coming and going cycle of different types of people that make the place the great that it is and always will be. There have always been the haves and the have-nots. The upside is that we live in a great country where a have-not can bust his rump to cut the not. Ya heard?! Be positive and kick your hate to the curb. PEACE!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here