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Black History

Research Paper: Analysis of the size of the

ghetto of Charlotte, NC

Yancy Wingard II

GEO 459: The Ghetto

Professor Joe Darden

Michigan State University


Problem Statement


The purpose of this research project is twofold: the first objective is to determine whether the size of the ghetto tracts for the city of Charlotte, NC has changed over the course of 50 years from 1960 to 2010. The second objective is to determine whether there has been a change in the socioeconomic inequality between the ghetto tracts and the surrounding area.


Hypothesis

It is believed by the researchers that:


1. The size of the ghetto of Charlotte, NC has increased from 1960 to 2010

2. There has been an increase in the socioeconomic inequality between the ghetto and non-ghetto tracts, measured by the gap between the two regions, from 1960 to 2010


Source of Data


The only source of data used for this analysis is the US Bureau of the Census Population and Housing Report for the years 1960 to 2000 and the US Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey 2006-2010 for the year 2010.


Method of Analysis


The first step of analysis for this assignment was to determine what tracts can be found within the Charlotte City limits. This is essential being that the data presented in the population and housing report is organized by county rather than city. As a result, some rural areas outside of the corporate limits make up the majority of the respective census tract. To do this, it was essential to rely on the maps published within the Population and Housing report for each decade as well as the published listings on the US Bureau of the Census. For the year 2010, the tool social explorer, which is used to house the American Community Survey 2006-2010, provides filtering capabilities that allowed for the possibility to provide only the census tracts that belonged within the city.

Once the appropriate census tracts were identified, the next step of the analysis was to determine what census tracts could be identified as an ethnic ghetto. For the purposes of this assignment the ghetto is defined as the area of a city (or in this case, a census tract), or neighborhood where the population living there constitutes a majority i.e., more than 50% of a racial, ethnic or religious group. Due to limited available data, the goal of this part of the analysis was to determine which census tracts contained a black population that exceeded 50% of the total population of the given tract.

Once the ethnic minorities were identified a comparison of the ghetto and non-ghetto tracts could be made. When answering the first question of the analysis, the first thing that was examined was the change in percentage of African Americans across the decades. To do this, the percentage of blacks in the ghetto tracts were compared year by year. The number of ghetto tracts per decade were then taken into consideration for analysis. Maps, highlighting the ghetto vs the non-ghetto for each decade were also examined as a means of gauging the spatial size of the ghetto decade by decade For the next part of the analysis, the socioeconomic difference between the ghetto and non-ghetto were examined. There were a multitude of variables examined for this step lists as follows:

a) Educational Attainment for population 35 years and over – Percent with bachelors degree or higher

b) Occupation for employed civilian population 16 years and over – Percent of population in management, business, etc.

c) Unemployment status for the civilian labor force 16 years and older – percent unemployed

d) Tenure – Percent of the population in owner occupied housing units

e) Median Household Income1

f) Median Value of Housing1

g) Median Gross Rent1

This phase of the analysis was done decade by decade rather than across decades (or census reports) due to changes in inflation. In order to calculate the socioeconomic difference between the ghetto and the nonghetto, the average percentages for the each of the variables for both regions within the city were calculated. For Median Household Income, Median housing Value, and Median Gross Rent, the percent deviation from the city’s median had to be calculated before comparisons between the ghetto and non-ghetto could be made. This was done by dividing the provided median figures of each census tract by the median figures of the city. These percent deviations were then averaged for each respective region. Once these average percentages were calculated, the differences were calculated by subtracting the average for the ghetto from the average for the non-ghetto, with the exception for the percent unemployed variable where in each case, the ghetto percentage was higher than that of the non-ghetto so as a means to ensure that the all variables remain positive and easy to understand the non-ghetto percentage was subtracted from the ghetto percentage.

Findings and Results


Below are maps of the city as a whole with the different census tracts labeled. Those without the gradient depict the tracts that fall within the black ghetto parameters stated earlier. The series of tables below depict the socioeconomic variable differences between the ghetto and surrounding non-ghetto, white majority of the region. The differences between the ghetto and non-ghetto shows a massive gap in every single socioeconomic variable of each data tract available, with the largest gap being the Median household income for the 1960 census and the median housing value for the 2010 census1. When comparing the percentage change of those individuals in management and business related occupations the general trend increases over time, indicating that ethnic representation in these positions for this region has decreased. The gap between Median Housing Value has also increased over the course of the past five decades. While the gap in socioeconomic variables has persisted, there does appear to be a decline in the gap for percentage of owner occupied households over the course of the past 50 years. Based on the data provided, I have accepted my hypothesis and conclude that the geographic size of the ghetto has increased over time but I must reject my second hypothesis on the bases that the data is not conclusive enough to say whether or not the socioeconomic gap has changed.


Table 1. Socioeconomic Analysis: 1960

Variable Ghetto NonGhetto Difference

Highest Educational Attainment 5% 12% 7%

% in Management, Business, Etc. 6% 11% 5%

% Unemployed 5% 3% 3%

% in Owner Occupied households 26% 66% 40%

Median Household Income 109% 238% 129%

Median Housing Value 65% 98% 32%

Median Gross Rent 80% 76% 4%


Table 2. Socioeconomic Analysis: 1970

Variable Ghetto NonGhetto Difference

Highest Educational Attainment 2% 8% 6%

% in Management, Business, Etc. 5% 17% 12%

% Unemployed 5% 5% 0%

% in Owner Occupied households 28% 61% 33%

Median Household Income 56% 117% 61%

Median Housing Value 56% 76% 20%

Median Gross Rent 84% 105% 21%


Table 3. Socioeconomic Analysis: 1980

Variable Ghetto NonGhetto Difference

Highest Educational Attainment 6% 24% 17%

% in Management, Business, Etc. 10% 28% 18%

% Unemployed 10% 3% 7%

% in Owner Occupied households 34% 62% 28%

Median Household Income 57% 115% 58%

Median Housing Value 51% 106% 55%

Median Gross Rent 73% 108% 35%


Table 4. Socioeconomic Analysis: 1990

Variable Ghetto NonGhetto Difference

Highest Educational Attainment 4% 16% 12%

% in Management, Business, Etc. 12% 33% 20%

% Unemployed 8% 3% 5%

% in Owner Occupied households 37% 61% 24%

Median Household Income 64% 118% 55%

Median Housing Value 63% 124% 60%

Median Gross Rent 96% 132% 36%


Table 5. Socioeconomic Analysis: 2000

Variable Ghetto NonGhetto Difference

Highest Educational Attainment 2% 10% 8%

% in Management, Business, Etc. 17% 43% 27%

% Unemployed 12% 4% 7%

% in Owner Occupied households 43% 65% 22%

Median Household Income 59% 125% 65%

Median Housing Value 59% 125% 65%

Median Gross Rent77%107%30%


Table 6. Socioeconomic Analysis: 2010

Variable Ghetto NonGhetto Difference

Highest Educational Attainment 4% 11% 8%

% in Management, Business, Etc. 9% 20% 12%

% Unemployed 15% 7% 8%

% in Owner Occupied households 51% 63% 12%

Median Household Income 67% 125% 58%

Median Housing Value 63% 134% 71%

Median Gross Rent 95% 102% 7%


Map 1. Census Map 1960



Map 2. Census Map 1970


Map 3. Census Map 1980


Map 4. Census Map 1990


Map 5. Census Map 2000


Map 6. Census Map 2010


Conclusion


The purpose of this analysis was to answer two questions: has the geographic size of the ghetto increased over time and has the socioeconomic gap between the ghetto and non-ghetto decreased overtime. In order to do this a wide array of socioeconomic statistics were gathered using the United States Census Bureau Population and Housing Report. We did the analysis by calculating the average percent differences for each variable and census report. These differences were then compared decade by decade as a means of assessing whether there was any change. Based on the evidence collected I conclude that the size of the ghetto has increased in size and socioeconomic gap between the ghetto and non-ghetto has remained but has not changed.

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