By Daniel Hutti CBN Graduate Research Assistant

In this edition of the Community Builders Exchange we are sharing several maps on integrated communities in St. Louis and how they have changed from 1970 through 2010. The idea for these maps came from a recent article in CityLab. The article, “The Problem of Resegregation in Suburbia,” is an interview with Myron Orfield of University of Minnesota on the fragile state of integration.  In the interview, Orfield discusses the “threshold where integration becomes resegregation.” As Orfield describes it:

“Our research finds that neighborhoods that are more than 30 percent non-white, within a couple of decades, two-thirds of them will become predominantly non-white. Neighborhoods that are less than one-third non-white in more than a decade will remain integrated.”

This 30 percent figure that Orfield cites is frequently referred to as a “tipping point.” As the number of nonwhite residents living in a community increases, white residents move out.  With this percentage in mind, the maps in this post look at communities whose integration has been more resilient over the past 40 years.

To find out where integration has been more resilient, I created two sets of maps. The first set looks at Census Tracts that are between 50 and 70% white. These communities are not yet predominantly non-white, but they are beyond the “threshold” or “tipping point” described by Orfield.  Using a database maintained by Brown University, I extracted Census Tracts that fit this criteria for each decade from 1970 through 2010.  You can see the individually extract layers beneath the big map below. Then, I compiled the layers into one map, and set a transparency, which allows you to see which tracts were “integrated” across multiple decades. The darker a geography is, the longer it has been integrated. In this first big map below, the darkest geographies are in the Central West End / Skinker-Debaliviere area and parts of Alton, University City, Richmond Heights, Rock Hill and Kirkwood.

For the second set of maps I changed the criteria for integration to include tracts that are between 30% and 70% white. With this criteria, there may be Census Tracts that are predominantly non-white but are  still integrated nonetheless. The second big map is the result. The darkest geographies in this map include the Central West End / Skinker – Debaliviere area, Downtown, and Shaw and parts of Alton, Normandy, Olivette, University City, Richmond Heights, Rock Hill and Kirkwood.

To see maps from previous editions of the Community Builders Exchange, click here.

1970-2010 Int 50-70


1970-2010 Int 30-70