By Daniel Hutti, CBN Graduate Research Assistant

We are highlighting maps relevant to community development in each issue of the Community Builders Exchange. To view maps from previous editions of the Community Builders Exchange, click here. If you have a map that would be of interest to our readers, please let us know by emailing us at cbn@umsl.edu.

Neighborhood wealth is commonly assessed and represented in maps through the perspective of mean or median income. The map below provides such a perspective, displaying wealth in St. Louis in terms of median income. The darker shaded areas on the map are areas with higher median income. From this perspective, the highest earners in St. Louis are largely concentrated in west St. Louis County.

median income by tract(Click to enlarge the image)

Another method for assessing neighborhood wealth is to look at an income density ratio. Income density divides the aggregate income of a geography by the land area of that region. The map below shows the income density ratio for census tracts in the St. Louis region. In this map, the darker shaded areas are census tracts with higher income density ratios. These areas have higher income per square foot of land. Whereas the first map shows concentrations of high earners, this map shows areas of concentrated wealth.

Income Density(Click to enlarge the image)

From this perspective, wealth no longer appears to be solely concentrated in west St. Louis County. Rather, there are pockets of concentrated wealth in the census tracts just south and west of Forest Park and in some neighborhoods in south St. Louis City.

Another map, seen below, shows a slightly altered perspective, showing census block groups instead of census tracts. Through this map, the wealthy areas of St. Louis sit largely within the so-called “central corridor” and throughout much of south St. Louis city.