Visualizing economic segregation

Poverty Map

I’ve previously written about the free data available from the American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. Now, Esri has mapped that data to visualize economic segregation in the U.S.

The Esri map Above and Below shows areas where a higher than average number of households live either above or below the poverty line. On average, one in seven U.S. households lives below the poverty line.

Green denotes areas with more households than average above the poverty line. Orange areas have more households than average below the line. You can zoom in to see your city or zoom out to compare states and regions across the country. There’s also a tool jumps you to your current location.

Public and social sector marketers could use this visualization in several ways:

  • Poverty reduction programs might find new places to target, or be able to target more accurately
  • Rural programs might see new levels of economic diversity
  • Fundraisers might find new insights into donors and fundraising events

The closest useful zoom level I found covers about 50 square miles. So this map might not be helpful for planning door-to-door canvasing, but it’s at least a start.

This blog is premised on the social nature of human beings, that we live together in communities because that’s to our advantage individually and collectively. If our communities lack resources, then we suffer individually and collectively. This visualization puts a face on this suffering.

Where does your community fall on the map?

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