Interactive Census maps

In recent work for my Urban Economics Class with Professor Mann, I came upon some very interesting maps during my research on ethnic neighborhoods. I have been looking for a quantitative way to define ethnic neighborhoods, to be able to perform some numerical analysis on their impact on cities. The first map that I found is a visual representation of the ethnic/racial distribution of our population. With this map, we are able to see where there are areas that have high densities of a certain race or ethnicity or we are able to see cities that have even distributions of its different ethnic groups. I found it interesting to look at ares that you are very familiar with, and to see whether you ethnic distributions are what you would expect. Try looking at Tacoma, or your hometown.

Here is the link. Be sure to click “add map labels” to show you cities, etc.

The next map that I found to be interesting, was similar to the last one, but only shows people who are under the poverty line, and shows the ethnic and racial distribution of people under the poverty line.

Link to the ethnic/racial distributions of people under the poverty line.

The way that I have been using the map, is to look at areas that have high densities of a single ethnic or racial group on the original map to see whether we can tell if these areas with a high density of a single ethnic group are generally below the poverty line or not. This map also provides an option where we are able to see how this data has changed since 1980.

I have found it enlightening to play around with these maps, and I have found out much more about my hometown (Madison, WI) and about other areas that I am familiar with like Tacoma. If you look at this map of Tacoma, you can come to some interesting conclusions about cost of housing, and how that changes based on location. If you look at it, as you move away from the water, and the around 30th Ave, and Old Tacoma, you start to see the concentration of people under the poverty line increase. This indicates that the cost of housing decreases as the distance from that area. Then, we can see as we move even further south, that the race/ethnicity of the people under the poverty line changes from primarily white, to a mix of the other categories. By using these maps, these types of trends and conclusions can be found in other cities.


Here are some links to websites with other interactive maps that provide great information.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Urban Institute: Metro Trends 


One Reply to “Interactive Census maps”

  1. Thanks, we are doing some work on racial disparities in Madison. These interactive maps will be very helpful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *