This week’s Tidy Tuesday invited us to examine county-level census data from 2016 in the United States (sourced here). I have been poking around in the data and discovered an interesting visual artefact in the following otherwise unsurprising quick plot:
I split the USA’s 3,142 counties (excluding Puerto Rico) into regions, based on the US Census Bureau’s four statistical regions (pdf). I excluded Puerto Rico because its racial breakdown does not fit the exercise here. And I chose to classify counties by White (%) because that seems the best way to capture the percentage of the population from racial minorities. No doubt this is a hugely crude way to go about the exercise.
Anyway, even with my basic familiarity with the United States I am hardly surprised to see child poverty correlate negatively with the proportion of the population that is white. What is surprising I think is the way that child poverty seems higher in the Northeast and especially in the South in more homogeneous counties.
Still, we have to be careful. When we look at the Southern counties what we are seeing here might relate to a combination of rural poverty and an uneven distribution of people by race. Indeed, it is very striking how segregated the United States are.
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|State||Counties||Segregated||Not Segregated||Segregated (%)|
|District of Columbia||1||0||1||0|
But note also that each state (and I imagine at more granular levels than that) has its own population distributions:
So, as always, more study required.