Neighborhood Analysis: Block & Block Group Demographics

.. steps to analyze NYC Chelsea area demographics that can be applied to any neighborhood … demographic characteristics of the Chelsea area in New York City, an area west of Avenue of the Americas between 14th and 34th Streets, is radically different from adjacent areas. This topic was covered in a “great wealth divide” New York Times story. This section reviews how census block and block group demographic-economic data can be used to examine these patterns. A GIS project is used that associates census block and block group data for visual analysis Methods summarized here can be applied to any area. Use the tools described in this section to obtain demographic-economic profiles for any neighborhood based on an address. See related Web page for more detail.

See related post on Most Populated New York City Census Blocks.

Study Area in Context of Broader Area
The study area, a group of selected census tracts, is shown as the red cross-hatched area in context of lower Manhattan in the view below.

  — view created using CV XE GIS and associated GIS Project

Zoom-in View of Study Area
The next view shows a zoom-in to the study area. Block groups are shown with a red boundary. Chelsea Park is visible as the green area above the pointer south of 29th street.

  — view created using CV XE GIS and associated GIS Project

Census Block Demographics in Context of Block Groups
The next view shows a further zoom-in showing census blocks with black boundary and block groups with red boundary. Census blocka are shown with a semi-transparent yellow fill pattern (population greater than 4) and gray fill pattern (blocks with population less than 5). The block group containing Chelsea Park (green area above pointer) contains three census blocks, 2 with no population and one with 1,010 population. Block data are from Census 2010; there are no post-Census 2010 block level demographics available. The analysis could be extended to shown wide-ranging demographics at the block level.

  — view created using CV XE GIS and associated GIS Project

Examining Socioeconomic Attributes
In this further zoom-in, Chelsea Park (green area) is shown near the pointer. Census block population labels are turned off for blocks with 5 or more population to help show a less cluttered view. Block groups are labeled with two values. The yellow upper label shows the median housing value (MHV). The green lower label shows median household income (MHI). Both data items are based on the American Community Survey 5-year estimates (ACS 2013) are centric to 2011. The ACS data are updated annually; as of October 2015, the latest data are from ACS 2013; the ACS 2014 data become available December 2015. The ACS 2013 5 year estimates are top-coded at $1,000,001 for MHV and $250,001 for $MHI.


  — view created using CV XE GIS and associated GIS Project

The block group containing Chelsea Park has a median household income of $26,440; the median housing value estimate is not available (too few owner-occupied units to develop MHV estimate). The Chelsea Park block group code is “360610097002” — this code uniquely identifies this block group among all other block groups in the U.S.

The block group immediately to the south of the Chelsea Park block group median household income of $21,750; the median housing value estimate is $1,000,001 (top-coded). The code for this block group code is “360610093006”.

While the MHI for BG 360610093006 might seem like it should be higher, a look at the number of households by income interval explains this number. Almost half of the households in the BG have a household income below $20,000. Analytical options that might be considered include using mean household income or mean family income instead of median.

Compare number of households by household income intervals for these two block groups.

Compare Your Block Group of Interest to Chelsea Park BG
Compare the above BG attributes to any BG of interest:
1. Copy and paste this string into text editor (eg, Notepad) window (do not press enter after paste):
http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/13_5YR/B19001/1500000USXXXXXXXXXXX|1500000US360610097002

2. Click here, key in an address then click Find to locate the 11 character BG code.
— scroll down to “2010 Census Blocks” and then further to “GEOID”
— copy the first 11 digits of the GEOID value to clipboard see illustrative graphic.

3. Paste those 11 characters into the URL, replacing the “XXXXXXXXXXXX”; this modification must be exact.

4. Press Enter. A profile appears comparing your BG to the Chelsea Park BG 360610097002.

Data Analytics Lab Session
Join me in a Data Analytics Lab session. There is no fee. Discuss how tools and methods reviewed in this section can be applied to your situation.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. He has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data.

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