The unholy alliance of the Seattle Times and a consumer credit reporting company produces some pretty interesting insights about the city. In its latest dip into the Experian datasets, the Times has produced a look at how Seattle’s neighborhood’s weigh in as measured by a popular diversity index. The findings: Seattle is not very diverse but some of our neighborhoods — including the core of the Central District — are *almost* as racially mixed as Chicago, New York or Oakland:
But that isn’t the end of the story. Even though Seattle, overall, doesn’t have a high degree of diversity, if you focus on its neighborhoods, a different picture emerges.
I calculated the diversity index for each of Seattle’s 483 “block groups” – a small census geography, typically containing fewer than 2,000 people.
As you can see, there is a wide range of diversity among these small sections of Seattle. Many have a high degree of diversity, and one-third are more diverse than the U.S. average score, 56.
The highest diversity in Seattle runs from the Central District down through Rainier Valley, and in the Delridge and White Center sections of West Seattle. There is also above-average diversity in Northgate, around the University District, and in some downtown neighborhoods.
North of E Madison, Capitol Hill has produced some of the least racially diverse streets in the city. On Twitter, the Seattle Times reporter responsible for the analysis noted a high correlation with income in the low diversity areas indicating the affordability factor for housing prices and rents could be an important factor in the measure. You can also look at some of the history of land use and policy in the central neighborhoods to understand how things like segregation and redlining have been shaped Seattle beyond demographic trends.
It’s worth looking at some of our lightest purple areas — to use the Seattle Times’s color scale — and think about what we can do to help orange it up.