UVA Demographer’s Map Illustrates Cincinnati’s Racial Segregation

Dustin Cable, a demographic researcher at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, recently published a map of the United States that shows an individual dot for each of the nation’s 308,745,538 people.

On their map each dot was assigned one of five colors based on the racial and ethnic affiliation. Whites are blue; African-Americans, green; Asians, red; Hispanics, orange; and all other racial categories are coded as brown. Cable used publicly available 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

When viewed in its entirety from afar, the map makes cities look like integrated places with a merging of all the colors to create a purple shade. This, however, is not the most accurate portrait of the racial segregation found throughout American cities.

When viewing Cincinnati at a more detailed level, for example, one can see the clear separation of White, Black, Hispanic and Asian populations.

The dots are evenly distributed throughout their assigned Census Block, so some dots (or people) appear to be living in areas where they cannot (i.e. parks, water, streets).

The specific areas of interest inside Cincinnati city limits are several Uptown neighborhoods where a dense cluster of Asian individuals live, and the Lower Price Hill and East Price Hill area where a small concentration of Hispanic individuals call home.

When looking elsewhere around the region it is also interesting to observe the Hispanic population cluster in Butler County near in and around the City of Hamilton.

  • jasomm

    Cable’s data cleaning is really what makes this so awesome; brilliant understanding of the Census data limits and hides them.

  • Matt Jacob

    Elmwood place is interesting too.

  • Matt Jacob

    Elmwood place is interesting too

  • Compare Cincinnati to both Columbus and (especially) Dayton. The pattern is much less clear in Cincinnati. Perhaps due to more complicated geography?

    • Neil Clingerman

      You want to see a particularly crazy example, check out the map for Chicago.

    • EDG

      That may be a good thing, indicates more diverse city neighborhoods.

    • Chicago is less clearly delineated between north and south than one would expect. Similarly to how Cincinnati is not very well defined between east and west. Again, compare that to Dayton (east/west) or Columbus (east/west). In my experience and limited research in Cincinnati, the neighborhoods themselves really aren’t that diverse, but the city as a whole is. I think Cincinnati is always going to look unique given it’s hills (2nd hilliest city in the country, or so I’ve been told). You really don’t get well-defined neighborhoods in most other cities the way you do in Cincinnati.

    • EDG

      It doesn’t seem that the hills or interstates for that matter are significant borders between races. The impact the hills have had on neighborhoods and race is historical. 100 years ago the outer, non-basin neighborhoods where the suburbs of the day, where those that could afford to go did. Hills are no longer barriers. West side hill neighborhoods, Clifton, Walnut Hills and others have integrated, whereas Hyde Park, Mt Lookout and others have not as much. I don’t think the hills indicate a clear pattern throughout the city, just that individual neighborhoods have progressed, declined or integrated moreso than others for various reasons. Not much has changed within Hyde Park/Mt Lookout in the past 100 years, but a lot has, good and bad, in Clifton, Walnut Hills, etc.

    • I did a report for a UC class in 2009 analyzing demographic data by either census tract or zip code (can’t recall which). At that time at least, the data pointed to extreme segregation by both race and income, with the exceptions of the UC-influenced Uptown neighborhoods. In the last few years, gentrification has led to changing demographics in downtown and OTR, for sure, with lesser but similar effects in Walnut Hills, Northside, and East Price Hill. As for the city’s other 40-some neighborhoods, it appears to me by the map that most are still quite segregated.

    • Neil Clingerman

      Still there are very clear delineations and not too many areas that mix, oftentimes a single racial group will cover miles of a certain district of the city/region. That’s what makes it crazy.

      Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle are the only places that I know of that are hillier than Cincinnati (Seattle is arguable though).

  • Steven Fields

    Cincinnati is nothing compared to what’s down in Miami.

    • matimal

      Yes. Cincinnati has hardly any beaches or swamps at all.

  • 14th&Bremen

    I know this is years away, but I think the 2020 census is going to be very interesting. I imagine the demographics of Cincinnati’s city center are going to see major changes if development continues. Do they do more frequent drill downs of population or is it only every 10 years?

    • John Yung

      While the official census occurs every 10 years, the Census Bureau conducts the American Communities Survey around every three years. The survey has more specific questions but does not see to count everyone the same way the 10 year census does. So until the 2020 census is released in 2021, there are few tools to give an accurate count of the shifting demographics. I agree that downtown will see a big shift by then, and I think we’ll see some surprising shifts in other neighborhoods near downtown and in the outer neighborhoods.

  • EDG

    Good Kevin Lynch-type depiction of metros. Seems to align with what areas we think of as mostly white, mostly black, diverse, etc.