Published: Jun 30, 2011 3:27 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 30, 2011 2:29 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) - A catastrophic flood emptied New Orleans of much of its black youth. Powerful social forces may be doing a similar thing to places like Harlem and Chicago's South Side.

Census data shows that cities from coast to coast have steadily drained of black children over the past decade.

Last year's census found nearly a half-million fewer black kids living in the 25 largest U.S. cities than there were in 2000.

The number of black, non-Hispanic children living in New York City was down 22 percent. It dropped nearly 32 percent in Los Angeles, 27 percent in Atlanta, 31 percent in Chicago and nearly 38 percent in Detroit.

Demographics experts say several factors appeared to be at work, including a large migration by young black parents to the suburbs.

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