They’re not kidding when they say Atlanta is pretty segregated


We keep getting news that Atlanta is really segregated.

Here’s a map of where people in Fulton County live, color-coded by race.

The map is kind of slow b/c it’s really big.

Frameless version here.



This is a “dot density” map by U.S. Census block — a block includes a couple of streets in most cases.  It’s not a dot on every person’s house.  There’s a dot for every 50 people. The dot is randomly placed somewhere in their block.  That’s why some dots show up in parks — it’s not that all those people live in the park. It’s that a park is part of a block and some dots for that block got stuck on the parks.


“Latino” and “Multiracial” are not on here, but may be indicated in “Other.” I’m going by the U.S. Census 2010 table P3, Race.  I’m basically using the categories they used.  But because there were vanishingly few native Alaskans, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, I merged them with other folks in the Census’ “Other” category. According to the Census (page B-9), “Other” is anything anybody put that doesn’t fit in the other categories, and some of those answers included multiracial, Hispanic, Latino, Cuban.

And yes, this data is old. Newer estimates exist, but they have kind of a high margin of error. I’d rather use this solid 2010 data.


Update – this Q got asked: Each dot represents 50 people, pretty much. I took the actual count of people and divided by 50 and rounded the result.  Therefore, if there were 25 or more Asian people in a block, for example, the formula rounds up to one, and I draw one blue dot.  If there were 24 or fewer people, it rounds down to zero, so no dot.

Update 2 – this Q got asked: Why don’t you show the whole metro area?  Well, this map is a free sample of what I seek to get paid to do more often: make maps and data visualizations. So here’s my pitch: Hire me for dataviz. I can do a map like this for a larger area, a different area, or other stuff altogether.

Apologies to Radical Cartography, where I got this dot density idea from.

And, I’m just one person without a copyeditor or colleague. If there’s a problem or error on this map, let me know at maggie [dot] a [dot] lee [at] gmail.

6 Comments on "They’re not kidding when they say Atlanta is pretty segregated"

  1. Each dot represents 50 people all of the same race?

  2. Hispanic and latino are not included because Hispanic just means “spanish speaking” and Latino is white. Now if you are a Latino from central or South America, it is because you are mixed with a white genomes from Portugal, Spain, Italy, ect. South Americans such as Brazilians and Argentinians generally have about 60-70 percent of their genes coming from multiple southern European identifiers. Multiracial probably falls under the “other” category.

  3. dots of diff sizes- are some dots more than 50?

    • All dots are 50, but because this dataset is so big, it takes a while for the dots to resize. So if you zoom fast, some of the dots will resize faster than others and you might have to wait a minute for them all to resize. Or in a bad case, the map might just freeze. The point is, all the dots are _supposed_ to be the same, but this map is teaching me the technical limits of presenting such a big dataset like this. I’m actually working on a different technique now that should load faster. But yea, dot size lagging … and the map just freezing 🙁 are for sure problems on my end, the programming.

  4. You can find free data, data visualizations, and mapping of the entire Metro Area at

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