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Visualizing Ethnic Boundaries in Rochester

This is a map of racial and ethnic populations (and divisions) in Rochester. It was created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data. Inspired by Bill Rankin's 2009 map of Chicago. [FLICKr: Eric Fischer]
When I saw this image of Rochester I was immediately struck. Pointillism is a style of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. Think of works by masters such as Van Gogh or Georges Seurat like A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatt external link. From a distance we see one thing. Upon closer inspection we may see something entirely different…

A closeup of downtown Rochester. Notice the distinct quadrants. Red = Caucasians, Blue = African American, Green = Asian, Orange = Hispanic/Latino, Yellow = Other. Each dot represents 25 residents. [FLICKr: Eric Fischer]
This map of race and ethnicity in Rochester was created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data (take a closer look external link). He’s created one for just about every metro area in the United States external link. Red dots are Caucasians, blue dots are African Americans, green are Asians, orange are Hispanic/Latinos and yellow is “other” — each dot equals 25 residents. The technique was inspired by Bill Rankin’s 2009 map of Chicago external link. I’ll let him explain in the following Youtube video…

What I love about this map is that it draws attention to both the stark fragmentation of race across our region, and at the same time, if you look closely it becomes impossible to draw a line around any one group of people. Typical neighborhood maps draw solid lines around communities. Those lines contribute to further segregation by allowing us to form artificial territorial distinctions in our minds. But look closely at the heavily blue 19th Ward or the red South Wedge. You’ll notice that things are not as “black and white” as they appear. Of course, the river and I-490 pose very real physical boundaries. But there are some interesting things happening in many areas of this map where one neighborhood weaves itself into the next. Some beautiful things.

Finally, below are some other cities I found interesting. There’s probably much more to learn about our own “dot” map by holding it up against these other places. Enjoy…

Buffalo
Map of racial and ethnic divisions in Buffalo, created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data.

New York City
Map of racial and ethnic divisions in New York City, created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data.

Los Angeles
Map of racial and ethnic divisions in Los Angeles, created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data.

Miami
Map of racial and ethnic divisions in US cities, created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data.

Boston
Map of racial and ethnic divisions in Boston, created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data.

Philadelphia
Map of racial and ethnic divisions in Philadelphia, created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data.

Portland, Oregon
Map of racial and ethnic divisions in Portland, Oregon, created by Eric Fischer using 2010 Census data.

This post comes just after the U.S. Census reported that whites account for under half of births in the U.S. external link And a fact pointed out locally by Rachel Barnhart last week external link, in Monroe County, whites make up 72 percent of the population… but 56 percent of children under 5 are white.

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 21st, 2012 at 8:16 am and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “Visualizing Ethnic Boundaries in Rochester”

  1. Jay Partyka says:

    Just for giggles I made a very quick and dirty image with an overlay of the neighborhood boundaries. Sorry about small resolution, I didn’t have a lot to work with:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/46714714/ROCDiversityNeighborhoods.jpg

  2. Dammit Jay, I just got done saying solid lines are BAD. These boundaries don’t exist!

    :-)


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