The Sources Of Brooklyn’s “Hipster” Influx, Revealed

09/13/2013 2:25 PM |


  • Rube.

Normally, this probably wouldn’t be worth mentioning at all as a story—”hipsters move to Brooklyn,” or “young-ish Americans move to New York,” or even “media outlet creates some sort of hipster-tracking map.” All of this territory’s been pretty well tread. That said, there’s one detail about the census bureau’s new population flow map that’s actually pretty interesting.


Namely the fact, as reported by Business Insider, that Brooklyn’s influx of new residents between ages 25 and 30 (who, I suppose, we can assume to fall somewhere on the hipster spectrum) is mostly coming from a pretty specific subset of places, almost none of which are located in the midwest.

Which shouldn’t be particularly surprising if you live in Brooklyn and pay attention to your surroundings, but then, the whole “Ugh, fucking hipsters from the midwest whose mommy and daddy pay the rent” thing is a surprisingly common trope when people talk about gentrification (and when jerks throw tantrums in our comments section), and it’s something I’ve hated for a long, long time. Partly because it feels unnecessarily mean-spirited, but also because it doesn’t make any sense.

If you look around you, the rich kids whose parents may or may not be subsidizing their Williamsburg rent aren’t, as a rule, the gentle-hearted transplants who just hopped off the bus from Chillicothe with dreams of the big city or whatever. Most of them were already nearby and well-situated, and flood in from places like Long Island, New Jersey, Upstate New York, Connecticut… you get the idea. They also flood in from other relatively hip (and mostly coastal) area like Portland, Seattle, Northern California, and Austin. None of which, again, should come as a particular surprise, or even necessarily be seen as a problem—anyone who takes issue with the existence of New York transplants isn’t usually worth speaking to on this or any other serious urban issue. But if this serves as an opportunity to put at least one stupid aspect of the gentrification debate to bed? Well, that’d be pretty nice.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.