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Ear to the Ground

See the Racial Dot Map

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Posted on Sep 7, 2013
Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia

A dot for every person. That’s what demographic researcher Dustin Cable of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service did with census data to show how population in the United States breaks down by race.

By the look of the map, which is zoomable to the city level, America remains overwhelmingly white. Blacks, Asians and Hispanics appear to be largely clustered around cities. Zoomed out, the East and the Midwest look populous, with density patterns broken up by mountain ranges. The West seems largely empty. All in all, the map counts 308,745,538 dots, one for each person recorded as residing in the United States at the place they were counted in the 2010 census.

The accompanying report says:

Each of the 308 million dots are smaller than a pixel on your computer screen at most zoom levels. Therefore, the “smudges” you see at the national and regional levels are actually aggregations of many individual dots. The dots themselves are only resolvable at the city and neighborhood zoom levels.

Each dot on the map is also color-coded by race and ethnicity. Whites are coded as blue; African-Americans, green; Asians, red; Hispanics, orange; and all other racial categories are coded as brown.

See the map in action here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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