American metropolitan racial segregation mapped

FlowingData pointed out a stunning array of maps showing racial distributions in 40 major American metropolitan areas made by Eric Fischer.  Fischer modeled his maps off of the following presentation of the racial distribution of Chicago done by Bill Rankin:

Note: at the time of posting, Bill Rankin’s site was rather slow, probably from higher than expected traffic levels.  If the site is slow or unavailable, I’ve uploaded the full size version here.

I really like the dot plot concept, as it shows population density, portrays the subject of its representation at a more granular level, and is generally much more informative than the solid colored census division portrayal in the lower left hand corner of the map that Ranking included for reference.

Fischer’s presentations maintain most of the form of Rankin’s map, but extend the concept to many more cities across the country, maintaining the same color code, 25 person per dot ratio, and 2000 Census data.  You can see the results in the following examples:

New York City
Race and ethnicity: New York City

Race and ethnicity: Detroit

Los Angeles
Race and ethnicity: Los Angeles

These maps really give you a stark view of how American cities are organized by race, without treating neighborhoods as a monolithic unit.  I highly recommend that you check out Fischer’s entire set on Flickr.

[Update September 23] Since originally posting this, Fischer has expanded the set of maps to 102, including many if not all state capitals.  Here are Madison and Des Moines, the capitals of the two states in which I’ve lived for significant periods of time:
Race and ethnicity: Madison
Race and ethnicity: Des Moines

It’s interesting to see these cities because they are much smaller and whiter than the major metropolises of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and they also look less segregated, insofar as they lack areas that exclusively contain one minority group.  There is still clustering, but there aren’t neighborhoods entirely devoid of whites and neighborhoods that do have high levels of minorities often have high levels of more than just one minority group.

The center of Des Moines, for example seems to have a high number of blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, with a significant interspersion of whites. Compare that to the south side of Chicago, the divisions of Manhattan, or the east side of Los Angeles and you have a pretty stark contrast.


About Meng Bomin

Real name Benjamin Main, I am a graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in Biological Chemistry.
This entry was posted in Maps, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to American metropolitan racial segregation mapped

  1. Pingback: American self-segregation and the whitening of the Chocolate City

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