In what can only be called the most comprehensive population distribution-by-race map of all time, Dustin Cable at University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has created a true masterpiece. Using the 2010 United States census as the data source, it puts a dot on the map for every person in America, color-coded by race. Here’s the contiguous United States as a whole:
As you can see, rural America is largely white, with minorities concentrated around urban areas. Yet even within cities, it’s not so simple. As you can see, in many areas you can see almost a purple color, or other colors that aren’t represented in the key. That’s from integrated populations; with 300 million dots on the map, zooming further out will cause color bleed. Wired explains:
White people are shown with blue dots; African-Americans with green; Asians with red; and Latinos with orange, with all other race categories from the Census represented by brown. Since the dots are smaller than pixels at most zoom levels, Cable assigned shades of color based on the multiple dots therein. From a distance, for example, certain neighborhoods will look purple, but zooming-in reveals a finer-grained breakdown of red and blue–or, really, black and white.
“There are a lot of moving parts in this process, so this can cause different shades of color to appear at different zoom levels in really dense areas, like you see in NYC,” Cable explains. “I played around with dot size and transparency for a while and settled on the current scheme as being adequate.” You can read more about Cable’s methodology here, but it comes down to this: When you’re dealing with 300 million dots at varying levels of zoom, getting the presentation just right is as much an art as a science.
Wired also pointed out the stunning segregation occurring in some cities to this very day. Take, for example, Detroit:
Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with associating with people that look like you (that’s just silly) but it’s frightening to know that there are still places that quite literally have race lines drawn by city streets. Of course, many large cities don’t suffer from this problem quite so badly. Many cities have overlapping and blurred populations, especially on the west coast.
The map, which can be found in full, glorious detail here, has a nearly-unimaginable range of uses. It’s the only map to EVER do this, and it could be used for valuable information by every city planner in the country, not to mention hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations.
Here’s how part of Houston looks, with neighborhoods easily discernible according to racial boundaries, as well as several highly integrated areas:
I really recommend going to the map yourself and taking a look around — what you learn may astound you.
Resposted from Occupy Democrats with permission.
- The Best Map Ever Made of America’s Racial Segregation (wired.com)
- This Map, With a Dot for Every American, Shows the Country’s Racial Divisions (blogs.smithsonianmag.com)
- This Map Of Race In America Is Pretty Freaking Awesome (buzzfeed.com)