Mapping Racial Diversity Using Grid-Based Racial Dot Maps and Racial Diversity Maps

Anna Dmowska
Tomasz Stepinski, Space Informatics Lab, Department of Geography and GIS, University of Cincinnati

Mapping spatial distribution of racial composition visualizes on-the-ground socio/demographic conditions. In this paper, we compare different types of race maps in order to identify the one that shows a spatial distribution of the racial mix in a most effective manner. We consider three data models, census tracts, census blocks, and a grid, as well as three mapping methods, race percentage, diversity/dominant race categories, and dots. Through examining a series of examples we arrived at the following conclusions. (1) Tract-based data should not be used to visualize racial demography because significant within-track spatial variations exist. (2) Grid-based data results in the best maps but block-based data can also be used. (3) Percentages maps visualize racial demography poorly and should not be used. (4) Diversity map is the best choice for mapping larger areas, while a dot map is the best choice for mapping smaller areas.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity