U.S. DENSITY PATTERNS
Bill Rankin, 2008
Race and ethnicity are some of the most defining characteristics of U.S. population distribution. The first two graphs show a remarkable shift between low densities and high densities. Below about 3,000 people per square mile, whites are the overwhelming majority. At higher densities, there is no clear majority group. Notice as well the discontinuity at about 10 people per square mile, which corresponds roughly to non-urban settlement west of the 100th meridian: very few rural blacks, a greater proportion of American Indians and Alaska Natives, and increasing numbers of Hispanic ranchers and farmers.
The third graph, however, shows that despite the lack of a clear majority group at high densities, neighborhoods are only slightly more integrated than in the suburbs. In city neighborhoods the local majority group still comprises about three-quarters of the population, and there are very few areas with more than two racial or ethnic groups living in the same neighborhood. Judging from the standard deviation spreads, truly integrated neighborhoods seem exceptionally rare.
The first three graphs show relative group representation at different densities; the last two show where people of different groups actually live. All groups have a strong urban contingent, including American Indians and Alaska Natives. But the last graph shows that, on average, Asians are the most urban group, followed by Hispanics, blacks, whites, and then Indians. Roughly 95% of Asians live at non-rural densities (greater than 250 people per square mile), compared with only half of all Indians.