There are more dogs in East Austin than children

Gentrification is a complicated topic, with many levels.

On one hand, some may believe new businesses, and increasing property values, can be beneficial to a neighborhood. “On the other hand it does not deal with some of the social and cultural implications when you displace people,” said Dr. Kevin Cokley, director of UT’s Institute of Urban Policy Research and Analysis.
It's happening in East Austin...that's nothing new.

However, the newest study called "Those who Stayed" put out by the University of Texas, brings an interesting observation - East Austin has more dogs, than children.

“Several of the respondents had indicated that among the changes they had seen in the neighborhood, it appeared there were now more dogs than children. This statement came up several times. It's not that they have more dogs than other areas, it's just now there are fewer children of color that can be seen outside playing,” said Cokley.

The numbers proved this to be true. Doctor Eric Tang and researchers interviewed, counted and surveyed the area directly east of downtown Austin between 7th and 11th streets to get this information.

“Gentrification is a displacement of lower income, disproportionately black and brown folks. They are being replaced by white folks and oftentimes white people who are fairly mobile. One of the things we see with this sort of demographic is there is a love of dogs,” said Cokley.

Chelsi West-Ohueri contributed to the first report, titled “Those Who Left.” “What did surprise me was the lack of children. I anecdotally thought about there being fewer children, thinking about the schools in those areas having decreased enrollment, but I'd never seen it measured,” said Ohueri.

She thinks this report is something decision makers should take a good look at.

For Austin to find balance, they may need to listen to those who stayed.

“Maybe they see that their family or generations that come after them won’t be able to reside in East Austin,” said Ohueri, referring to those people who stayed in the eastern part of town.

City council member Kathie Tovo is working to get her “Right to Return” resolution enacted to help displaced generational East Austinites move back into their neighborhoods.