Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC) has undertaken an analysis of New York City’s people and housing to reveal changes that have occurred between the federal decennial census years of 2000 and 2010.
By focusing our analysis at the census tract level, the work illuminates patterns of change that reflect who we are and where New Yorkers are really living, regardless of traditional neighborhood boundaries.
Government has many good reasons to create neighborhood boundaries. Such boundaries facilitate the collection of information and analysis. They help inform how government distributes resources and can reveal inequities and areas of need. However, these boundaries can also distort information, as they may not reflect the ever-changing realities of the population on the ground and the new communities that are emerging.
Our analysis began with 12 variables that reflect core demographic characteristics from the federal decennial census. As defined by the U.S. Census the variables capture information regarding race, household income and composition, educational attainment, age, and presence of foreign born household members. The combinations of characteristics shared by NYC residents resulted in the identification of each census tract in the city as belonging to one of 16 clusters, with race being the most significant driver of cluster identity.
Data provided by CHPCNY
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The categories used to identify clusters—for this visualization and the underlying research paper—come from U.S. Census Bureau designations. For example, the race categories “white,” “black,” “Hispanic,” and “Asian” are consistent with the terminology used in decennial censuses. CHPC acknowledges the limitations of these definitions and employs them for the sake of statistical integrity and uniformity. For a full treatment of these limitations, see the Methodology section (part IV) of the research paper.