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More dogs than children in East Austin, UT study shows

NAACP president Nelson Linder said this problem has been going on for years.

AUSTIN -- University of Texas researchers found there are more dogs than children in East Austin.

They said this is just more proof of gentrification in that area. The study shows that dogs outnumber children two to one.

Researchers said it's not that there's an abundance of dogs, it's that there are fewer children around because more and more families are being pushed out.

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“In the eight outings that we went, we didn't see any other kids but we saw numerous dogs each and every time,” said Olivia Sullings, a researcher.

UT researchers surveyed part of the Blackshear-Prospect Hill neighborhood. Looking at about half of the neighborhoods population, they counted 116 dogs in comparison to 66 children.

At Wednesday’s discussion, they said it's because many families are being kicked out.

“What we're saying is that the absence of children serves as an index for economic inequality and grafted economic inequality,” said Eric Tang, a researcher.

“Well, it's sad,” said Donna Hoffman, Blackshear-Prospect Hill neighborhood association. “I don't think that the people moving to east Austin are bad people but I think it's really important that the historic families who've lived there for generations have ways to be able to stay."

Hoffman, who's a part of the neighborhood association, said they all notice the change. In this historically black neighborhood, there is an exodus of black families.

“The folks who live here, who've been pushed out, they lost their properties, lost their lifestyle,” said Nelson Linder, NAACP Austin president. “This is a serious issue and by now, 2018, we're way behind the notion to solve these kinds of issues. As a black man, as an African-American who's been here for a long time, I have tears about east Austin because it’s not a joke."

Linder said this has been an issue for years and said it's time to shift the focus from the problem to solutions.

“You're going to have to build more low-income housing,” said Linder. “You'll have things like inclusionary zones that make corporations when they build here include affordable housing."

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UT researchers said the decrease in families can negatively affect the neighborhood, the amenities around it and the schools.

AISD is already seeing it. A spokesperson with the district said they have seen shrinking enrollment in East Austin schools.