As part of an ongoing analysis looking at racial segregation and income disparity in the United States, Best Neighborhood has created this animated map for Atlanta, GA. It's plain to see that high-income neighborhoods (purple and dark green) in Atlanta are also those with the highest proportion of white residents. Low-income areas (dark red) are almost without exception areas where black people live (lime green).

Race and income in Atlanta Georgia

Below is a side-by-side map showing the same thing.

Atlanta per capita income
Atlanta majority race

Some find it easier to open a full-size window to compare by switching tabs back and forth. You can do so by clicking these links.

Atlanta Race Map | Atlanta Income Map

I-75 merges with I-85 in a line that clearly divides poor areas – nearly all majority black – from rich areas – nearly all majority white. The differences are stark. Try spotting a high-income mostly-black area, and switch back to see whether this is actually a few blocks where the majority of people are white. Do the reverse, and see if you can find low-income majority-white blocks. The trend changes very little with the majority Hispanic areas to the northeast outside of the city.

Neighborhoods north of downtown Atlanta (including Buckhead, West Paces Ferry / Northside, Garden Hills, and Colonial Homes) are shaded in purple, meaning these areas are in the top 1% for income. These are also the highest majority white neighborhoods in and around the city. A look at the real estate records shows nearly all of Atlanta's 1-acre lots with 4+ bedrooms centered around the high-income V shape north of the city. Only a handful of homes are for sale for under $400,000 in the area: all of them condos, many carved out of old colonial-style estate homes. Those looking for a home under $200,000 will find themselves in majority-black areas like Pittsburgh, Center Hill, Harvel, and Venetian Hills.

Only Los Angeles has lines that follow race and income so clearly, but Atlanta is visually interesting because of its hard dividing lines rather than showing pockets spread across the city. The scatterplot below shows how median income in a block tends to be higher in majority white areas.

Race v. Income in Atlanta

Show definitions

Race comes from self-selected data on the US Census and American Community Survey.

Per capita income is the median income for a person in the neighborhood. When analyzing neighborhoods averages are generally a poor metric, as a few people with very high and low income can skew the data.

Neighborhood and communities were analyzed by census block group, the smallest statistically area for which reliable up-to-date information is available for race and income. There are over 220,000 census block groups in the US.

Racial segregation is a phrase commonly used in academia. The term does not necessarily mean segregation by law, which is illegal in the United States. These are neighborhoods that are segregated in that races are “set apart from each other; isolated or divided.” The causes for racial segregation are complex, and largely beyond the scope of this analysis (though perhaps still worth discussing).

Correlation, association, or alignment all refer to the r-squared formula: how much do the X values (e.g. percent white) coincide with the Y values (per capita income). It would be wise to avoid rushing to judgement as to what this means. E.g. we have not found that Los Angeles is more racist. Living in one of these neighborhoods does not mean you'll make less money. We've only found that minority communities in the cities above are also lower-income communities on average. It's very possible that Hispanic people in other cities make less money, but if those areas are not as racially segregated this type of area-based comparison would not be as clear.

Journalists and writers: images and data are free to use with citation. This is an open and statistically-centered work to highlight a current fact rarely discussed in the US. Contact us if you need more information.