Utne Blogs > Politics

New Maps Show Racial Segregation in Vivid Color

by Will Wlizlo

Tags: demographics, segregation, integration, maps, Eric Fischer, politics, Will Wlizlo,


It’s easy, almost commonplace, to see racial segregation on a small scale. Hispanics shop at this grocery store, white people shop at that one. Blacks live in this neighborhood, Asians in the neighborhood down the street. But a broader, city-wide picture of racial segregation is harder to discern.

Using data from the 2000 U.S. census, Eric Fischer made infographics of the 40 largest metropolitan areas that map the density of racial groups with vivid colors. Each dot represents 25 people, and each color represents a different racial group. Red dots signify white people, blue dots signify black people, green dots are Asians, etc. From Fischer’s graphics it’s clear that measures to encourage racial integration have, in most cities, not been effective.

Above: a map of New York City broken down by racial groups. 


The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, home of Utne Reader, is moderately integrated in the two urban cores, but lacks diversity in its sprawling suburbs. 


What Long Beach, California lacks in density, it makes up in integration. 


Detroit is rigidly segregated. 

(Thanks, Fast Co. Design.)

Images by Eric Fischer, licensed under Creative Commons.