Is Madison the future of America?

Quick follow up to my previous post on Madison.  This map shows whites in blue, blacks in green, hispanics in yellow, and Asians in red.  Notice that blacks and hispanics live on the edges of Madison, and whites and Asians live in the core areas.  I am pretty sure this is almost unique in non-Manhattan America (but common in places like France.)  Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come, if gentrification continues.  The blank areas are lakes, and the dark blue/red isthmus is the downtown area.

One explanation for this anomalous pattern might be that other similar cities have had black residents for many decades, whereas Madison received an inflow of black resident only recently.  For instance my birthplace (Lansing) is a similar size city containing the state capital and a big university, just like Madison. But it has had numerous black residents for a long time, and they tend to live right in the city. I believe that pattern is much more common.

With this cool link you can check out any place in America.


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14 Responses to “Is Madison the future of America?”

  1. Gravatar of Philip Crawford Philip Crawford
    11. December 2013 at 20:11

    Not much green in that image.

    The red dots are mostly in areas highly populated by students.
    * Eagle Heights – student housing
    * Just south of the UW Hospital
    * Along University Ave on campus
    * E. Johnson area

    The red triangle up on Northport is interesting. My neighborhood is very densely blue.

    What this map doesn’t show is how cold it’s going to be Thursday morning. Brrrrr

  2. Gravatar of ChargerCarl ChargerCarl
    11. December 2013 at 21:27

    California seems like it could be a whole other country.

  3. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    12. December 2013 at 00:04

    Stanley Fischer as Vice-Chairman?????

  4. Gravatar of Greg Greg
    12. December 2013 at 00:26

    Scott, look at Chicago at that same link. The “core area” (e.g. the Loop and the Magnificent Mile and areas nearby to the north) are largely white/Asian. This area is core in that it is in/near the middle of the city, and it’s the main commercial part of the city. The black and Hispanic residents live largely in the south and west.

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2013 at 05:11

    Philip, Didn’t know you lived there. I agree about the student areas.

    ChargerCarl, Yes, I looked at that because I will live there someday. Lots of colors. Cities like Detroit are also interesting as you can see 8 mile road just from the color contrast.

    Saturos, Yes, interesting.

    Greg, I should have explained better. The blacks and hispanics tend to live right in the city of Chicago, in very old housing stock. Chicago has 2.7 million people in a metro area of 8 million. Most of Chicago’s residents are minorities. The newer suburbs are mostly white.

    You are right that within the older city itself Chicago is a bit like NYC, with the best central areas being mostly white. I was thinking more in terms of the broad metro area patterns. I was really surprised when I saw how many of Madison’s blacks live in what I consider the newer suburban areas, especially on the west side.

    In America “urban” used to be code for minority/black.

  6. Gravatar of ee ee
    12. December 2013 at 07:12

    A few things

    1, your site ads aren’t even slightly mobile friendly. As someone who is mobile 90% of the time, this sucks hard.

    2, speaking as a Manhattan resident you’d find similar outcomes with an ethnic scatter plot of NYC. Segregation up north appears to be driven by the unexpressed racial preferences of hiring managers, landlords and brokers, plus stark disparities in family wealth. That’s my guess anyway.

    3, commute time matters more than spacious accommodations in the era of never ending traffic jams

    4, I think this provides another chunk of evidence for my pet theory that Asians — like Italians, Poles and the Irish before them, all of whom were initially considered non-“white” — are being subsumed into “whiteness”. I’d bet good money than forty years from now Chinese, Koreans and Japanese will all be considered white. I’d hesitate to make the same bet on Latinos, despite shared euro heritage. Ethnicity is a seriously weird cultural construct.

  7. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    12. December 2013 at 07:16

    I took a look at St. Louis. The segregation is chilling. The white/black divide, even among neighborhoods with similar population density is well known. What is really interesting is the Asian contingent: They are highly concentrated in large rental complexes, often placed strategically close to some large employers of technical people. The area around said complexes, where people mostly own their houses, is the place, outside of university campuses, where you can see the most diversity.

    Locals can see the divide in employers too: Some large companies are so white, you’d think you are in Sweden. In others you can make a great guess of which department people work on by the color of their skin. And then there’s the biotech companies, that have a racial mix resembling the UN.

  8. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    12. December 2013 at 08:04

    I remember my Urban Economics course at Chicago. The prof drew concentric circles of declining property values emanating from the city center. I looked out the window and scratched my head.

    Ultimately, of course, he was right.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2013 at 08:20

    Everyone, Good observations.

    ee, Sorry about the mobile problem. The intermarriage rate between whites and Asians and Latinos is so high that some predict America will become two races again, black and beige. There’s also some black intermarriage, but not as much as the other groups. Lots of my relatives married Asians, hispanics and blacks.

  10. Gravatar of Wimivo Wimivo
    12. December 2013 at 10:59

    At first glance it seemed to me that Asians were actually under-represented in the map. Then I looked closer and realized that I live smack-dab in the middle of a big red zone, and that double majoring in math and econ tends to select for Asian students more than white students for whatever reason, so my observation is probably skewed there too.

  11. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2013 at 19:28

    Wimivo, Do you also live in Madison? If so, where?

  12. Gravatar of Greg Greg
    12. December 2013 at 21:53

    Thanks for the clarification.

  13. Gravatar of Wimivo Wimivo
    13. December 2013 at 17:06

    Yep, I’m an undergrad at UW at the moment. I’m in that red patch roughly 3.5 miles west of campus. I’m studying (well actually procrastinating apparently) for my Money and Banking exam now, as it happens. I must say, the money part is far more interesting to me than the banking part.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    14. December 2013 at 07:38

    Wimivo, That must be out by the State Office building.

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