We live in an economically-segregated world, so much so that it’s sometimes difficult to get a wider view and see things as they really are. That’s why I’m a fan of websites like Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks, where a savvy data journalist has combined U.S. census data with Google Maps technology to create a stark visual representation of who lives where — and how much it costs.
The maps at RBPB layer data about median income and median monthly rent over block-by-block census tracts, allowing both an overview of general patterns (people earn more and pay more in the suburbs!) or a super-zoomed in look at individual neighborhoods. In the map below, you can see how Johns Hopkins’ Homewood campus drives up rents — and also how York Road seems to serve as a buffer holding off those rising rents.
Or look at downtown: The area around Patterson Park is a checkerboard of low, medium, and rising rents. (The darkest color on the map represents rent of $1,643 or more, while the lightest color is rents of under $451.)
If you look at the income data for the same areas, similar (but not identical) patterns emerge. One clue: Gentrifying neighborhoods will have a higher ratio of rent to income, while suburban areas reverse that. See anything interesting?
(The darkest red indicates median incomes under $26,355.75, while the darkest green is incomes over $140,410.75)