Charleston is the fastest gentrifying city in the United States according to a new report by

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Charleston, South Carolina is the fasting gentrifying city in the United States according to a report from Back at the turn of the millennium, the median price for a home in Charleston, South Carolina, was just $152,100. By 2015, that number had spiked 77.5 percent to $270,000.? Let us see how the rest of the top 10 fared with Charleston leading the way.

1. Charleston, SC

Newer buildings sit behind Charleston's historic waterfront, while cranes are a testament to even more construction.
Newer buildings sit behind Charleston’s historic waterfront, while cranes are a testament to even more construction.SeanPavonePhoto/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 62.5%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015:?$152,100 to $270,000 (+77.5%)

The issue of gentrification exploded in Charleston in 2001, when Shoreview Apartments, a large, low-income housing project downtown, was razed to the ground to make way for an upscale community of single-family homes. Other neighborhoods that had long been solidly African-American working class also saw a shift toward white, middle-class families. Since 1990, Charleston’s?black population has declined from 42% to 23%, according to the Census Bureau.

2. Asheville, NC

Colorful murals enliven the quirky West Asheville neighborhood.
Colorful murals enliven the quirky West Asheville neighborhood.George Rose/Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 50%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $125,000 to $235,000 (+88%)

Back in 2000, Rolling Stone called Asheville “America’s new freak capital,” attracting an eclectic population of hippies, artists, and musicians. Today, tourists flock to its craft beer breweries, and gated golf communities sell homes for prices as high as $6.5 million—but the quirky, creative characters who once defined the city are vanishing.

Vincent’s Ear, an iconic dive bar where the White Stripes played before they became famous, has been replaced by a high-priced eatery. In the River Arts District, which a city report describes as being “in the middle phase of?gentrification,” two?dozen artists were displaced?in 2014, when their buildings were ordered to close because of fire hazards. The site is currently being renovated, and the hope is that some units will be affordable for artists, according to photographer Jeremy Russell, one of those who were kicked out.

But the newly upscale neighborhood isn’t for everyone. “Some artists definitely moved away [from Asheville] … those who are more progressive, and pushing the boundaries,” Russell says.

3. Washington, DC

New apartments are reflected in the window glass of a trendy cafe in Washington's Shaw neighborhood.
New apartments are reflected in the window glass of a trendy cafe in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood.Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 39.4%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $159,900 to $525,000 (+228.3%)

At the beginning of this century, DC Mayor Anthony Williams had ambitious plans to revitalize the city’s depressed?neighborhoods. Today, the Navy Yard (home of the Nationals’ new ballpark),?NoMa, and Columbia Heights have shed their dingy image and become the new “it” neighborhoods.

“There are a lot more things to do—restaurants, bars, shopping like Best Buy and Target. It’s very convenient,” says?Andrew?Wiseman, a resident of Columbia Heights since 2007 who?runs the blog New Columbia Heights. However, he adds, “the reactions to the changes are really mixed. Families that have been here for generations don’t like it. Local retailers are being pushed out, corner stores are closing.”

4. Portland, OR

A display of colorful doors masked a Portland homeless encampment in 2012.
A display of colorful doors masked a Portland homeless encampment in 2012.George Rose/Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved:?33.9%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $148,000 to $340,000 (+129.7%)

Hmmm … could the trendsetting Portland really have achieved only 33.9% of its gentrification potential? Well, yes, since our analysis starts with 2000, and the poster child for the modern hipster movement was ahead of the curve.

“Gentrification in Portland is not a new phenomenon,” says Katrina Holland, executive director of Community Alliance of Tenants in Portland. “Since the 1960s and ’70s, there has been serial displacement of the African-American community. Now it’s the first time that white, middle-class families are also being priced out.”

Perhaps that’s why lots of “urban pioneers” are ditching Portland for places like Detroit, in search of a cheaper?cultural scene.

5. Denver,?CO

A 5-year-old boy sits next to signs protesting the lack of affordable housing in Denver.
A 5-year-old boy sits next to signs protesting the lack of affordable housing in Denver.Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 32.8%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $162,000 to $316,000 (+95.1%)

We’ve noted it before: The Denver market is hot. Scalding, in fact. The booming tech industry, outdoor lifestyle, and more recently, Colorado’s legalization of marijuana have drawn transplants and starry-eyed developers to the city.

The North Denver neighborhoods of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea are going through significant changes. Depending which day you visit the area, it either smells of legal weed—due to a high concentration of marijuana businesses—or dog food from the nearby Purina factory. But three multibillion-dollar?developments?have lifted property values by?60% from 2013 to 2015, and residents saw?their property taxes increase by as much as $600,?according to?Stephen Moore, policy director for FRESC, a nonprofit organization working with?low-income communities.

“Many of our historical black and Hispanic communities are being destroyed explicitly by gentrification,” Moore says. “We are not against investment in those communities, we want?that. But we’d?like to see more policies that protect the people that live there now, and help them stay.”

6.?Nashville, TN

Lower Broadway in Nashville is famous for its country western music.
Lower Broadway in Nashville is famous for its country western music.FangXiaNuo/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 27.6%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $118,400 to $205,000 (+73.1%)

Every day, the Nashville metro gains 71 to 100 people. The city’s entertainment and health care industries bring in a steady flow of wealthy transplants. East Nashville, where the city’s musicians and artists have long resided, was on the frontline of gentrification.

“The most significant change in the last 10 years was the influx of builders, because the houses here were?old and cheap,” says Realtor? Cindy Evans of?RE/MAX Choice Properties, who moved to East Nashville in 1980. “After the commercial areas were?built, young professionals moved in—for the amenities more than the housing.”

But since?the urban core is still relatively inexpensive, Nashville is experiencing intense speculation by developers and investors.

7. Sacramento, CA

The urban skyline in Sacramento shows new office buildings adjacent to older apartments.
The urban skyline in Sacramento shows new office buildings adjacent to older apartments.photoquest7/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 26.5%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $127,500 to $255,000 (+100%)

Thanks to?decades of urban redevelopment and to its affordable real estate, Sacramento—just a couple of hours east of San Francisco—is?seeing an influx of?young professionals and well-off empty-nesters. Midtown, a former hard-knock neighborhood, has been taken over by stylish white-linen restaurants and pricey new condos.

The latest wave of gentrification has also hit?Oak Park, a historically black neighborhood where Patti Miller, owner of Patris Studio Gallery, moved 20 years ago.

“It was a?ghetto, and rent was really cheap,” Miller says, adding that artists, because they often can’t afford much, “are usually dealing with the grittier side of a city.”

In the past decade, the rents got?higher and Miller’s?artist friends began?to leave—for Oregon, Arizona, and even South America. Miller nearly lost her gallery to developers in September. And?what’s in Oak Park today? Trendy locales like “holistic spa” Capitol Floats, where?customers spend $65 for an hour of relaxing in lukewarm saltwater.

8. Jersey City,?NJ

The Jersey City skyline by night
The Jersey City skyline by nightUltima_Gaina/iStock

Gentrification potential achieved: 24.5%
Median home price increase, 2000 to 2015: $142,000 to $380,000 (+167.6%)

It wasn’t long ago that downtown Jersey City was more of a punch line than a destination stop, typified by vacant lots and abandoned tenements. Now, its falling crime rate has made it safer for?families, and new condos are going up at a rapid clip.

With Manhattan just over the river, Jersey City offers a relatively easy commute and more affordable homes than the fast-track meccas of gentrification nearby, like the more desirable?parts of Brooklyn.

The housing market is also driven by wealthy foreign buyers, says?Saquib Rahim, a sales associate from?Coldwell Banker. “In the rental market, New Jersey has rent control, so renters are protected from huge rent increases. But local businesses are being priced out, for sure.”

9. Long Beach, CA

Octavio Orduno, 103, leads a pack of local cyclists through the streets of Long Beach, CA.
Octavio Orduno, 103, leads a pack of local cyclists through the streets of Long Beach, CA.Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved: 22.4%
Median home price increase from 2000 to 2015: $179,000 to $455,000 (up 154.2%)

In downtown Long Beach, developers are turning all kinds of buildings—even a former department?store—into high-end condos. The previous industrial hub with rundown buildings is now a residential community, with amenities like boutiques, craft breweries, and restaurants.

The average rent downtown is now $2,645, according to Rent Jungle. Who’s paying those prices? A 2016 report by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance showed that the largest number of downtown residents were?“metro renters”—young, educated singles who love the arts and spend money on the newest technology.

“Millennials are moving in for walkability and bikeability—there are custom bike lanes and bike-share stations,” says Realtor Jason Patterson from?RE/MAX College Park Realty, who represents a waterfront condo building selling for $729,500 a unit.

10. Austin, TX

A high-rise condo under construction in Austin contrasts with the low-rises nearby.
A high-rise condo under construction in Austin contrasts with the low-rises nearby.Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gentrification potential achieved:?22.2%
Median home price increase from 2000 to 2015: $152,600 to $299,300?(96.1%)

Many residents tout the unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” but they may be fighting a losing battle. Condos and upper-income apartments are popping up everywhere, driving up rents and home?prices as developers cash in on the city’s trendiness.

For years, East Austin residents have decried gentrification. In 2006, a local nonprofit?had about 250 people?on a waiting list for affordable housing, but that number had?risen to 700 by 2015. The previously forgotten neighborhood with a largely African-American and Latino population began?to get attention in the early 2000s. As?Austin’s population grew, people from outside the community were drawn to the low rents of the area close?to downtown. The result was a wave of new developments, and now East Austin?is rebuilding a fancier, more congested?version of itself.

* Our methodology considered a?Census Tract?eligible for gentrification if it had a population?of more than 500 people, and both median household income and median home value fell within the?bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within its metro in 2000.

Of those eligible tracts, a tract was further considered gentrified?if it had experienced?a?significant increase in median income, median home value,?and?educational attainment between 2000 and 2015.

The ranking is based on the share of gentrified?tracts out of a city’s total eligible tracts. The final list included only cities that had more than five gentrified tracts.?

Data were collected from the sales database, American Community Survey, and the US2010 project of Brown University’s Russell Sage Foundation.?We consulted research methodology from a?2005 Columbia University study?and a 2015 Governing magazine report.?


South Carolina Ranks #3 Worst State for Drivers in new Study

In a new report released by, South Carolina ranks #3 worst in the United States and #1 in fatalities per 1 million traffic miles traveled.? Below is the full study, methodology and results.


The rankings for this study are based on statistics made available to the public by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Each state is ranked according to the following categories:

  • Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled
  • Failure to Obey (Percentage of Fatal Crashes that involved Traffic Signals, Not Wearing Seat Belts, and Driving with an Invalid Driver’s License)
  • Drunk Driving (Percentage of Fatal Crashes that Involved Alcohol)
  • Speeding (Percentage of Driving Fatalities that were Speed-Related)
  • Careless Driving (Pedestrian & Bicyclist Fatalities per 100,000 Population)

We translated all of this information into one?Total Score, with the worst states receiving the lowest scores.

For example, North Dakota, the state with the worst rating for Drunk Driving — or the highest percentage of fatal crashes due to Drunk Driving — earned just one point in this category. Utah,?the state with the lowest percentage, received a score of 51.

Ten States with the Worst Drivers:

#10 –?Montana

Best Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 36th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled: 3rd


Moving from first place last year to tenth place this year, Montana seems to have done a lot to improve the quality of driving on the road. The state came in above average for Careless Driving but still has some work to do taking third place for Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled.

Here’s hoping that next year, Montana will improve even more and won’t show up on our list.

#8 – Arizona (tie)

Best Ranking Factor:?Drunk Driving: 32nd
Worst Ranking Factor:?Failure to Obey & Careless Driving: 5th


Arizona also improved on its score from last year, moving from sixth to eighth place. The state’s worst ranking factor was a tie between Failure to Obey and Careless Driving causing over 170 fatalities combined.

#8 – Alabama (tie)

Best Ranking Factor: Speeding: 27th
Worst Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 9th


Alabama tied with Arizona this year for the eighth worst state for bad drivers.

The state ranked ninth in Careless Driving. Because Alabama?didn’t make it onto our list last year, we can only assume that driving habits have regressed. Hopefully, Alabama drivers will focus on safe driving and remove themselves from our list next year.

#7 – Nevada

Best Ranking Factor:?Failure to Obey: 29th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Careless Driving: 4th


Coming in at number seven, Nevada scored above average in Failure to Obey. But drivers in the state ranked fourth for Careless Driving causing 78 fatalities on the road from Careless Driving alone. Nevada’s second highest score was eighth for Drunk Driving.

#6 – New Mexico

Best Ranking Factor:?Failure to Obey: 36th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Careless Driving: 1st


New Mexico improved on our list from last year, moving from second to sixth place. The state did well in the Failure to Obey category, but ranked first — or worst — in Careless Driving and sixth in Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled.

#5 – Delaware

Best Ranking Factor:?Drunk Driving: 26th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Careless Driving: 3rd


Delaware moved on our list from ninth last year to fifth this year. Scoring third in Careless Driving and eighth in Speeding, Delaware drivers have a lot to do to make their roads a safer place to travel.

#4 – North Dakota?

Best Ranking Factor:?Careless Driving: 20th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Drunk Driving: 1st


An issue with Drunk Driving caused North Dakota to slip on our list from seventh place last year to fourth this year. Drunk Driving caused 66 deaths in North Dakota last year. It’s a serious problem that drivers in the state need to recognize and address.

The fact that North Dakota placed sixth in Speeding only adds fuel to the fire. Individuals who are drinking and driving over the speed limit are far more likely to cause fatal accidents than those who are following the law.

#3 – South Carolina

Best Ranking Factor:?Failure to Obey: 34th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled:?1st


South Carolina came in close to their score last year, coming in at third this year instead of second. While drivers in South Carolina scored well in the Failure to Obey category, they placed first in Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled and seventh in both Speeding and Careless Driving.

#1 – Texas (tie)

Best Ranking Factor:?Careless Driving: 14th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Drunk Driving: 3rd


Texas, tying with Louisiana, slipped on our list from fourth last year to first. Drivers in Texas ranked third for Drunk Driving, ninth for Speeding, and ninth for Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled.

Texas scored top 15 in every category. Needless to say, this state has a lot to improve on when it comes to safe driving.

#1 – Louisiana (tie)

Best Ranking Factor:?Speeding: 30th
Worst Ranking Factor:?Failure to Obey: 1st


With an above average score in Speeding, Louisiana comes in for a tie for first place because of its score in every other category.

Drivers in Louisiana scored poorly in Failure to Obey (1st), Careless Driving (5th), Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled (5th), and Drunk Driving (6th). With those scores, there’s no denying that Louisiana is in serious need of change on the road.

Best Predictor of States with Bad Drivers: Careless Driving

Careless Driving has been an excellent predictor of bad scores in past years, and this year’s study is no exception. Of?the 20 worst states overall, 16 states were ranked in the worst half for Careless Driving.

The majority of Careless Driving is done by distracted drivers — people who drive while doing other activities that take their attention away from driving.

The most common reason for distracted driving is a cell phone. In fact, 64 percent of all car accidents?involve cell phone usage.

One major thing we can all do as competent and caring drivers is to put away our cell phones before we ever get behind a wheel. Hiding them?will help keep our eyes on the road and our minds on the important task before us.

Failure to Obey and Fatal Accidents

It is interesting to note that the Failure to Obey category had the smallest?correlation with the overall number of fatal accidents. While three of the 10 worst states scored under 10, three others (Nevada, South Carolina, and New Mexico) were ranked in the best half in the same category.

While there is no doubt that a failure to obey traffic signals and laws puts you at a greater risk for an accident, it seems that other factors weigh more heavily when it comes to fatal accidents on the road.

For all media inquiries, please email:?Josh Barnes