Atlantic Cities

A New Interactive Graphic Maps Segregation in 268 Different Metros

Recently, Sophie Litschwartz found that many of our larger metro areas with large black populations are only slightly more integrated than they were a few decades ago. Meanwhile, smaller metros with small black populations have been integrating at a much more rapid pace.

Why this is occurring remains a mystery.

To evaluate metro segregation levels, Sophie calculated a commonly used measure called a dissimilarity index, which rates neighborhoods from 0 (complete integration) to 100 (complete segregation). To better illustrate what these scores mean, I’ve put together an interactive map that covers the 268 metros in our study (and rural areas as well).

The map shows how black-white segregation levels have changed over time. What do New York’s stagnating scores of 75.0 in 1970 and 76.4 in 2010 look like? What does progress in a more integrated Washington, D.C., (80.3 in 1970 to 60.1 in 2010) look like? To find out, explore the map above.

This analysis is based on the neighborhood change database (NCDB). Note that the database does not contain data for all census tracts in 1970 because it does not provide data for “untracted” areas.

This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute's MetroTrends blog, an Atlantic partnert site.

Graham MacDonald has been a research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center at the Urban Institute since May 2011. All posts »

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