August 19, 2013

Mapping Ithaca: Minorities Tend to Live on City’s Periphery

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The well-worn metaphor of America as a “melting pot” is an idealization — one that gives way to a reality of racial segregation if you look closely, Slate writer Jeremy Stahl wrote in a piece Thursday. Is the City of Ithaca an exception?

In the 2010 U.S. Census, Ithaca’s population of 30,014 residents was 70.5 percent white, 16.2 percent Asian, 6.9 percent Hispanic or Latino, 6.6 percent black and 0.4 percent American Indian. (The percentages add up to more than 100 percent because some people surveyed reported belonging to more than one race.)

Even with its predominantly white population, Ithaca shows patterns of racial segregation on a color-coded map created by a University of Virginia researcher. The map plots one dot for each person: blue represents Caucasians, green represents black people, red represents Asians, orange represents Hispanics and brown represents all other races.

According to the map, Ithaca’s core is overwhelmingly white. Minorities, on the other hand, seem to mostly live in the city’s eastern and western edges.

For instance, the highest concentrations of black people tend to live in the city’s West Hill and, to a lesser extent, its Southside neighborhoods. Asians are concentrated most densely in the city’s South Hill and past the eastern and northern bounds of the city, including the Village of Cayuga Heights and the Town of Lansing.

The good (or bad) news: Ithaca’s map — dotted with distinct clusters of blue, green and red — is far from unique. In fact, it is mirrored by thousands of other American cities with neighborhoods carved out by race.

Residential segregation is “still a problem” in the U.S., sociologists said in a study released last summer.

“When people say, ‘Segregation is going away’ and ‘We don’t need to worry about it anymore,’ those are messages that people will latch onto quickly. Unfortunately, those types of statements are just untrue,” Prof. Kyle Crowder, University of Washington, sociology, said in a press release issued by the American Sociological Association.

Neighborhoods are less likely to be racially diverse when the supply of new housing is limited or when there is already a high level of poverty and residential segregation, Crowler said in the statement.

Akane Otani is the managing editor of The Sun. You can email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at

Original Author: Akane Otani