Map Monday: Twin Cities Region by Racial “Community Type”

Here is a fascinating map from Myron Orfield’s Institute for Metropolitan Opportunity that categorizes the Twin Cities’ metro region into four different groups based on racial diversity and density.


I like this map’s simplicity and focus, and also the fine grain at which it makes its distinctions. For example, you can see how different parts of Saint Paul and Minneapolis compare with each other so that, for example, the Southwest portions of both core cities are “predominantly white” while some suburbs (e.g. Woodbury, Burnsville, Brooklyn Park) are “diverse.” (The threshold between those two categories is placed at a census tract that is 60% or more white residents.)

The map also reveals to some of the rapid changes around communities of color in the Twin Cities over the last few decades. For example, here’s the same map from 1990.


Sometimes cartographic simplicity can be refreshing food for thought. For me, this map helps make sense of some of the impacts of the land use, zoning, and transportation debates, not just within the region, but within individual cities.

15 thoughts on “Map Monday: Twin Cities Region by Racial “Community Type”

    1. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke Post author

      I beg to differ! It’s really interesting. I love looking at the lines, e.g. Maple Grove vs. Brooklyn Park, and thinking about some of the policies that lie behind them.

      1. Will StancilWill Stancil

        Ha, I have another comment with some complementary maps that point towards how housing policy in particular might help drive these patterns, but it’s “awaiting moderation.”

        (Also, it includes direct links for the commenter below!)

  1. J

    Feature request: Would it ever be possible to link to larger sizes of the map images, or the original maps for great zooming capability?

  2. K

    The tiny speck of “pre-dominantly non-white” in Oak Park Heights is just a correctional facility. 🙁

  3. robsk

    Glad to see the return of Map Monday! I agree, we need bigger, easier to view maps whenever possible.

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