That’s the question this recently launched web app attempts to help you answer. Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks uses the U.S. Census Bureau’s definitions for median household income and the results of the 2006-2010 American Community Survey to create a visual representation for you. Clicking on any point on the map will provide you with the information, while the state’s median income in 2010 dollars is visible in the lower right corner.
The map can be searched either by metro area or by specific address. It’s interesting to note the range of median household incomes throughout metro Birmingham. It’s also been an eye-opening experience to see the commentary accompanying the sharing of the site in other cities across the country, including Dallas, TX (courtesy of the folks at FrontBurner); Washington, DC (by way of The Daily Viz); and Berkley, CA (via the fine folks at Berkleyside).
The tracts are somewhat misleading if you’re looking at it for trends. Besides recognized issues with the margin of error contained in the data used, there’s also the fact that some of these tracts just don’t have that many residences inside their boundaries. The map shows Census tract 27 in Jefferson County as having a median household income of $15,806. The tract includes Birmingham’s central business district, Railroad Park, the BJCC and the city’s automotive district; it also includes the city’s loft district.
It’s still a pretty powerful image and one worth exploring on your own.