It used to be that the only way to look at census data was to go to the US Census Bureau website and sift through tables. This year though, many people, non-profits, and news organizations are developing creative tools to display census data in more useful ways. One of those tools is a mapping tool that Remapping Debate recently released that maps racial data from the 5-year data of the American Community Survey and shows how segregated much of the country still is. (One caveat is that this data is not the 2010 Census data and is not as accurate as that data will be, but I’m guessing Remapping Debate will revamp the tool when that data becomes available. For a thorough explanation of why ACS data is not as accurate, check out this A Better Oakland post on the subject.)
I played around with this mapping tool the other night and created a couple maps I thought were worth sharing here. Here’s the key to help you make sense of these maps:
Here’s the map of most of Oakland:
It’s hard to see at this size, but one of the things that stood out to me the most on this map is Piedmont, which according to this map is home to no blacks or Hispanics. (I’m guessing that is not true and we’ll find out for sure when the 2010 Census data is available, though the city is clearly much less diverse than Oakland.)
I wanted to see some more detail of my neighborhood so I made this map centered around my home:
I don’t have any grand statements to make based on these maps, particularly since they’re not based on the 2010 Census data and I don’t want to draw too many conclusions based on this data, but they are interesting to explore. If you have a few minutes, head over to the site (you have to click through from this link to the mapping tool – no direct link is available) and check out your neighborhood. I found this color scheme the easiest to understand, but there are many different color options for data display that might make more sense to you.
I know other census mapping tools have been released recently but couldn’t remember where I had found those so if you have any recommendations of other tools worth using, please share them in the comments.
UPDATE: In the comments jaririchmond shares another ACS mapping tool from the New York Times that plots data as points and has options for mapping race, income, and more. Here’s the map I created of income in Oakland roughly centered around my home. I’m impressed with the income diversity of my neighborhood: