Development

Two maps show gentrification, economic inequality in Charlotte

A new map from the Urban Institute shows the geographic distribution of wealth in Charlotte, with the blue areas representing the top 10 percent of households and the dark areas the bottom 10 percent.
A new map from the Urban Institute shows the geographic distribution of wealth in Charlotte, with the blue areas representing the top 10 percent of households and the dark areas the bottom 10 percent. The Urban Institute

Like many cities, Charlotte has areas that are growing rapidly and areas that have been left out of the current boom. Now, two new maps show a graphic summary of what parts of Charlotte have been left behind.

First, a map from the Urban Institute that shows neighborhoods ranked in the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent by socioeconomic status. As you might guess, the distribution is far from random. The neighborhoods in the bottom 10 percent are clustered in a crescent west, north and east of uptown. Those in the top 10 percent are clustered in the city’s southeast wedge, a corridor of wealth that stretches into Union County.

The map from the Urban Institute is nationwide, so all you Charlotte transplants can look up your hometowns and see how they stack up (Scrolling around my native Maryland suburbs was pretty interesting). You can also go back to 1990 and 2000 to see how the geographic distribution of wealth and poverty has changed. And you can read a summary of the Urban Institute’s research and findings here.

Next, a map from Governing magazine shows which Charlotte census tracts have been gentrifying and which haven’t over the past decade. Although the magazine notes that there’s no universally accepted definition of gentrification, the magazine’s analysis basically looked at neighborhoods that scored low on measures such as house price and income and then saw those measures increase.

The group’s analysis shows that many neighborhoods in Charlotte’s crescent of less well-to-do communities around uptown didn’t gentrify. But a few tracts, notably those northeast and west of uptown, did experience sharp gentrification.

For example, the Wesley Heights area just west of uptown saw its median home value jump 84 percent between 2000 and 2013, to $171,900. The share of adults with bachelor’s degrees rose from 6.8 percent to 41 percent, a six-fold jump.

Check out the complete map here. You can mouse over the different census tracts to see detailed descriptions of the demographics in each.

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Twitter: @ESPortillo

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