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.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.