By Daniel Hutti, CBN Graduate Research Assistant

We are highlighting maps relevant to community development in each issue of the Community Builders Exchange. To see the maps we have shared previously, click here.  If you have a map or an idea for a map that you think would be of interest to our readers, send us an email at

In this week’s edition of the Community Builders Exchange we are sharing several maps on vacancy rates in the St. Louis region.  To build these maps, we collected data from the 2000 and 2010 decennial census and the 2013 ACS. 218 census tracts are highlighted from our region. These are the tracts that comprise St. Louis’ urbanized area in 1950.

2000 Vacancy Rate

(Click to enlarge)


Our first map displays vacancy rates from the year 2000. The scale displayed at the top right of the map splits the data evenly into fifths. The dark green coloring represents tracts that are in the lowest fifth of all the tracts highlighted below. The yellow areas represent tracts that are in the middle fifth, and the dark red tracts are in the top fifth. The dark red category includes vacancy rates ranging from around 25% and 39%. You can see below that this category fits much of north St. Louis, downtown, and some portions of south St. Louis.




2010 Vacancy Rate


The next map shows vacancy rates for 2010. It is worth noting that the scale at the top right has shifted somewhat, and each fifth now represents a slightly higher vacancy rate than it did in 2000. Nevertheless, there are some areas in the map below that appear to show some improvement. These improving areas appear to include the northern edge of downtown St. Louis, portions of midtown St. Louis, and just south of downtown St. Louis.



Vacancy GR 00-10


To get a better picture of which areas are improving in terms of vacancy rates, the next map shows the percentage change of the vacancy rates from 2000 to 2010. The tracts shown below in dark and light green experienced a decline in the vacancy rate during this ten year period. Now, neighborhoods where vacancy rates are turning around are clearly visible. These areas include much of downtown St. Louis,  East St. Louis, the Tower Grove Park area, and what appears to be the Marine Villa/Benton Park area.



2013 Vacancy Rate


Next – what are the estimates for what has happened since the 2010 census? The next two maps display vacancy rates from the 2013 ACS and the percentage change in vacancy rates from 2010 to 2013.

The first map below shows a scale that is a bit more widely spread. Now, there are census tracts with virtually zero vacancies and others with vacancy rates as high as 52%. The second map shows the percentage changes over the three year period. It appears that the decline in vacancy rates has continued in the downtown area and has spread to include the north and south river fronts, Old North St. Louis, Hyde Park, and College Hill among others.



Vacancy GR 10-13