Maps Of U.S. Population Change, 2000-2010
April 11, 2011 2:52 PM   Subscribe

The Death of Downtown Chicago and 20 More Maps Of U.S. Population Change, 2000-2010

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posted by T.D. Strange (42 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, data are awesome.

Ah, the classic flight to the suburbs, but with a twist! Click through and look closely, and at the very center of the biggest cities – within a stone’s throw of downtown – you’ll see a tiny, resurgent dot of blue. Apparently, at some point in recent history, a home address amongst the skyscrapers became desirable again. Even in the City of Detroit, which dropped a full quarter of its citizens in the last decade, downtown is flashing the signs of a comeback.

I'd noticed that where I live, it's interesting that it seems to be a wide-scale phenomenon. Though, I suppose gentrification is nothing really that new.
posted by absalom at 2:57 PM on April 11, 2011


Looks like bacteria rings in a petri dish.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2011


Is there a zoom-able version? Or did I miss it?
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:09 PM on April 11, 2011


"Looks like bacteria rings in a petri dish."

We certainly tend to resemble bacteria in the aggregate.
posted by panaceanot at 3:13 PM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fascinating how Los Angeles and NYC seem to be the only major metros on the list that just are one big mass of gray, overall. There are a fair bit of red and blue bits, but they're for the most part heavily mixed up.
posted by chimaera at 3:15 PM on April 11, 2011


Click through and look closely, and at the very center of the biggest cities – within a stone’s throw of downtown – you’ll see a tiny, resurgent dot of blue. Apparently, at some point in recent history, a home address amongst the skyscrapers became desirable again. Even in the City of Detroit, which dropped a full quarter of its citizens in the last decade, downtown is flashing the signs of a comeback.

I am part of that pale, blue dot that is movement to downtown Detroit. And absolutely loving it. Thanks for the data.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:18 PM on April 11, 2011


I am part of that pale, blue dot that is movement to downtown Detroit. And absolutely loving it.

Good on you, and please explain what the reporters in general are missing. Genuinely curious.

Easterners might notice the deep red at Rikers Island. Must investigate. Perhaps after dinner.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:26 PM on April 11, 2011


Is there a key anywhere on the site or do you have to guess what the colors mean?
posted by octothorpe at 3:29 PM on April 11, 2011


Man, data are awesome.

Especially when they're supplied with scales and units so they're interpretable. Would it have killed him to put a little square showing the ranges of the data axes up in the corner somewhere? While as a Detroit-area native I know that the emergence of the exurbs is a real deal, as is to some extent the downtown revival, I would like to be able to get a good understanding at what that really means in terms of bulk population shifts. If I scale all the red bits and the blue bits equally and add them up, do I get grey? Or is the scale bounded at the maxima in each direction?
posted by monocyte at 3:30 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


The best/only key the site has to offer:

In urban areas, deep blue indicates that the population doubled (or more), pure red means that everyone left, grey denotes no change, and the intermediate tones represent the spectrum of increases and decreases in-between. Below 5000 residents per square mile, these colors fade with the square root of density towards white, where no people lived in either year.
posted by m@f at 3:32 PM on April 11, 2011


You can really see the revitalization of LA's downtown, it's almost solid dark blue. Other than that it's a big patchwork of red and blue, except for some growth at the edges (which at this point are so far away I'd barely call that LA... you'd have a multi hour commute each way if you lived deep in the Inland Empire and worked in LA, although I'm sure some people do).
posted by wildcrdj at 3:46 PM on April 11, 2011


So everybody left Detroit and moved ... to Flint?

Actually, that sounds about right.

I am part of that pale, blue dot that is movement to downtown Detroit.

What's the red dot, then? Is the movement from south Detroit to North Detroit?

Ah (sees Midwest inset). Detroit looks like it's the same old pattern since 1968. The downtown core is all red, and the suburbs and exurbs are dots of blue.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:46 PM on April 11, 2011


Nevermind, I just saw the further zoomed inset (I should really read the FA first ...)

Anyway, the overall trend from downtown Detroit to the suburbs seems incontrovertible.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:48 PM on April 11, 2011


the white areas from the parks and industrial areas on the chicago map really stand out.
posted by garlic at 3:48 PM on April 11, 2011


On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?
posted by amethysts at 3:53 PM on April 11, 2011


Awesome maps. It is true, though, that mapping this as a percentage-change thing rather than a net-population-gained-or-lost thing can make the maps a bit misleading. If there were 1,000 people living in downtown Detroit (or wherever else) and now there are 2,000, it'll look like a huge resurgence, but meanwhile 10,000 people may have moved to a suburb of 50,000 and it would only be slightly blue.

(The opposite is also true; look at all the deep blue surrounding Las Vegas, for instance. That could be a few thousand people moving into an uninhabited desert. Though obviously Vegas is (or was) growing rapidly by objective measures, too.)
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 3:56 PM on April 11, 2011


So everybody left Detroit and moved ... to Flint?

i asked the other 47 of us...the red carpet is now a nice mauve.
posted by clavdivs at 4:00 PM on April 11, 2011


Oh, also, regarding Rikers – it looks like New York passed a law requiring that prisoners in the 2010 census be counted as residents of, you know, their actual residences, rather than their prisons, for the purposes of redistricting. I don't know if this is reflected in the data presented in the map (because it's unclear to me whether, at the federal level, they are still considered residents of the prison), but it could certainly be the explanation.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:02 PM on April 11, 2011


"On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?"

Its the closing of the Cabrini Green housing projects. Money / yuppie-wise that area is doing just fine.
posted by stratastar at 4:03 PM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Compare with the distribution of foreclosures in Las Vegas.
posted by warbaby at 4:04 PM on April 11, 2011


I spoke too soon, those maps are impossible to parse. Take a look at the NYTimes' Census 2000 data explorer instead for something that makes sense.
posted by stratastar at 4:06 PM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fascinating how Los Angeles and NYC seem to be the only major metros on the list that just are one big mass of gray, overall.

They're both geographically constrained. The LA Basin isn't getting any bigger, after all, and it is surrounded by already populated land. It can't spread out. NYC is similar, particularly Manhattan. The cities with huge swaths of red? Mostly surrounded by land which can be suburbanized. New Orleans is a special case for obvious reasons.

LA and NYC are also places where there is still significant cachet to living in the cities themselves. Bridge and tunnel crowd, "the valley", and so on.
posted by Justinian at 4:10 PM on April 11, 2011


Yeah, there needs to be a legend on these maps. "Pure red" means everybody left? What the heck? Pure red? Is that a thing?
posted by Justinian at 4:11 PM on April 11, 2011


Downtown Detroit never had all that many residents to begin with, so that's why it's so deep blue. Actually, you can't really see the central business district on this map, that's how few buildings are actually lived in. The blue you are seeing in the center is generally the Midtown/Wayne State/Woodbridge/Cass Corridor area that is somewhat more affordable than the immediate downtown area.

Most of the movement out of Detroit (i.e. deep red areas) are the predominantly (> 90 percent) black outlying neighborhoods, where things are truly desperate; all the disadvantages of being in an inner city of a metro region, but none of the advantages of urban life; they were the original "suburbia", before lawns and lot sizes really started getting out of hand. And you can also see the red areas creeping into Southfield and Warren.

It is interesting how the now-derelict industrial corridors (represented by the giant white voids) generally are forming the boundaries of population/depopulation in Detroit. The red/blue divide to the NW of the downtown appears to be the Amtrak/CN rail line; the red/blue divide to the east looks to be the former Dequindre/St Aubin rail line along with Hamtramck assembly (Hamtramck is the very light blue neighborhood just north of that massive white void).

These maps just confirm the obvious; we have way too few dense walkable urban areas in this country and the demand to live in such places as gasoline approaches 5 bucks a gallon is going to be off the charts.
posted by ofthestrait at 4:14 PM on April 11, 2011


It's also true that one should probably look at change in total number of housing units and change in housing unit vacancy rates to get a handle on whether central-city blue is gentrification or new development, suburban-edge blue is new sprawl, etc. Especially in central-city (geographically-small) Census blocks, one major new housing development can significantly swing population numbers-- and central cities are the places that tend to be zoned to allow high-density housing development. Or, as stratastar says, the closure of one major housing development can mimic the appearance of a major decline that might not really be happening.

And I love the NYT Census data explorer, but it also leaves out vacancy rates and change in housing units (although it's zoomable and clickable and basically super-neat), and it's based on 2005-2009 ACS data, which has a pretty significant margin of error. Like, enough that I've heard serious data people suggest that the ACS estimates shouldn't be used at all. I use 'em anyway, but, you know, grain of salt and ground-truth your data.

However! I love this sort of thing! Yay! Maps! Demographics! Yay!
posted by Kpele at 4:15 PM on April 11, 2011


Oh you're right, they do use ACS data... I guess the vacancy and housing data haven't been released yet?
posted by stratastar at 4:24 PM on April 11, 2011


On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?

If you mean the red block that is way north of the city, that is probably Waukegan.
posted by AceRock at 4:31 PM on April 11, 2011


(Thank you Dixicup, I knew there had to be a reason)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:33 PM on April 11, 2011


The 2005-2009 ACS data includes housing and vacancy data down to Census Tract and is downloadable from American Fact Finder. I don't think the NYT data explorer is going to include it-- that data explorer came out the day after the 2005-2009 numbers were released, I think, so it's been up for a while. And it's really cool! but it's not all-inclusive. Like any data visualization and analysis, it's more valuable if the viewer is thoughtful and considers what might be causing (whatever) change or impact.
posted by Kpele at 4:34 PM on April 11, 2011


and, on reflection, if you meant "the housing and vacancy data for the 2010 Census hasn't been released yet", that's because the 2010 Census won't have housing and vacancy data. That detailed data-- anything beyond population, age, basic household type info, ect-- used to be extrapolated from the long form Census. The ACS has replaced the long-form Census, and now that detailed data (commute mode and time, income, educational attainment, etc etc) is collected through the ACS. Downside=higher margin of error. Upside=not getting stuck with up-to-10-year old data between Census years.
posted by Kpele at 4:41 PM on April 11, 2011


Right. Its so hard to forget there's no long form Census.

The times pages does have the data though. Click Show More Maps!
posted by stratastar at 4:48 PM on April 11, 2011


On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?

Great Lakes Naval Station is about there. Everyone shipped out?
posted by gueneverey at 4:52 PM on April 11, 2011


gueneverey, I'm wondering if all the military bases are doing as dixiecupdrinking mentioned re: Riker's Island - ie, counting residents as being from their original hometowns - because the area around Fort Lewis-McChord AFB (Puget Sound area) is also suspiciously red.
posted by epersonae at 5:27 PM on April 11, 2011


Eventually, these cities northern cities will be re-occupied by the rich -- especially if there's any truth to global warming. Those who can afford it will take their scorched asses out of San Diego and Naples, and hie up to Chicago, Toledo and Niagara Falls, NY, which will have beautiful, Riviera-like climates. The lower and criminal classes will be exiled to the exurbs, and as it has been in most of human history, crime will be something that thrives on the outskirts of cities and in the rural wastes, while within the economically (and the way American society goes, racially) homogenous inner cities will be safe havens.
posted by Faze at 6:38 PM on April 11, 2011


"On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?"

Its the closing of the Cabrini Green housing projects. Money / yuppie-wise that area is doing just fine.


That's way too far north to be Cabrini Green, considering where ORD is located. I'm actually guessing that it's my neighborhood, Uptown.
posted by LMGM at 9:49 PM on April 11, 2011


No, wait, I take that back. I think it might be Waukegan. I totally missed the scale on that image.
posted by LMGM at 9:52 PM on April 11, 2011


"On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?"

Great Lakes Naval Station?
posted by jaut at 11:15 PM on April 11, 2011


On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?

Comparing with a road map, it does look like it's either Lake Bluff -- right by NS Great Lakes -- or Great Lakes itself. There hasn't been any big change in how the military are counted, though.
posted by dhartung at 12:13 AM on April 12, 2011


The maps are a bit over representing the growth area. Take Kansas City for example. The blue areas to the south and southeast were farm fields up until, well probably when this map is made. So now that these are new suburban developments, doubling from nothing isn't too hard. The bluish-grey on towards the center-left shows a healthy, mature swath of neighborhoods. You're not going to see multi-tenant developments go up there, so it is going to stay solid or drop into red. Similarly the dark blue towards the center is a business district that just started catering to residential skyscraper types.

I would also note that the reddish grey parts on the east side are a bit misrepresented. Here you'll see a move from large Victorian homes serving up 3-4 apartments, to being restored to their original state. Don't know how neighborhood specific is that, but you're seeing a red growth when really moving from multi-use to single tenant is an economic plus to the area.

Neat, but doesn't tell the whole story.
posted by geoff. at 6:17 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could someone smarter than me please say a few things about the Boston map? What appears to be going on there?
posted by shushufindi at 9:19 AM on April 12, 2011


On the Boston map, there's a bright red section in Cambridge along the river where there's a lot of MIT housing. Perhaps another residency rule change? I kind of wish they'd controlled for that kind of thing, but that would've been a lot of work. Nevertheless, very interesting!
posted by sk932 at 12:29 PM on April 12, 2011


On the Chicago map, does anyone know what that bright red spot on the north-east coast is?

The posters who said the city of North Chicago / Waukegan (home of Jack Benny!) are dead on. On that map, Cabrini Green would be very close to the cluster of blue in the center on the lake. The economy in these communities is centered around manufacturing and the Great Lakes Naval Base. The base is doing fine; manufacturing not so much. And unlike a lot of Chicago's north shore, it's not very attractive either. Sort of like Gary, Indiana, people are moving out.
posted by centerweight at 9:03 PM on April 12, 2011


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