Monday, September 9, 2013

The Racial Dot Map

Where do people live in the United States? How are the races distributed? Within any city, what neighborhoods are mostly African American, Asian American, or white?

A researcher at the University of Virginia's Demographics Research Group has taken 2010 census data and programmed it into an interactive map, with one dot representing each person counted in the census—that's 308,745,538 dots.

You can look at the entire U.S. and notice that the West is much more sparsely populated than the East. There just aren't as many people in, say, North Dakota as in Michigan or New York. Even zoomed out this far, you can see that there are a lot of blue dots (representing whites) in most of the country, and a lot of green dots (representing Blacks) in the South and Southeast.

Racial Dot Map, U.S.

You can zoom in anywhere you want. Here's Shiprock, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation, showing mostly brown dots, representing "Other Race/Native American/Multi-racial"—in this case, Native American.

Racial Dot Map, Shiprock, AZ

Coming to our own corner of the country, here's Washington State, with a lot of population along the I-5 corridor and in Spokane, and much less population density in the rest of the state:

Racial Dot Map, Washington State
 Zooming in further, we see that Seattle has a lot of blue dots (for whites), with green dots (African Americans) in the Central Area and lots of red dots (Asians) and yellow dots (Hispanics) in the South.
Racial Dot Map, Seattle Area
 And we can zoom in even further, to see the UW and nearby neighborhoods.

Racial Dot Map showing University District (top, with high concentration of red dots, representing Asians), Eastlake and Capitol Hill (center), and Central Area (with more green dots, representing Blacks)

For more about the project, see U.Va. researcher’s dot map of race wins praise, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sept. 9, 2013, as well as the map's home page.

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