John Burn-Murdoch Map: The changing Chinatowns of New York, London and San Francisco

Chinatowns gif

Gentrification and commercial developments are breaking up Chinatowns in US and British cities, squeezing Chinese communities out of the vibrant neighbourhoods that grew up around earlier generations of migrants.

The changing demographics of New York City further highlight this pattern, with Asian communities having sprung up in Flushing and Queens, where they were traditionally focused in Lower Manhattan.

The animated maps above show decadal changes in the spread of localised Chinese and Asian communities in London, New York and San Francisco, created using data from the 2001 and 2011 editions of the UK census and the US censuses of 2000 and 2010.

Data was analysed on the ethnic composition of Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in London and census block groups in the US cities. For London the map shows Chinese communities, while New York and San Francisco show Asian communities as the US Census Bureau does not break down the Asian category any further at this localised geography level.

Each point on a map represents the isolation index of segregation (IIS) score for a given LSOA or block group. The IIS is a measure used in social science to indicate the extent to which a specific ethnic group is clustered in a given location relative to the wider area. It is based both on the proportion of the local population who are of that ethnicity, and that subgroup as a proportion of all members of the same ethnic group in the wider city.

For both the UK and US censuses, ethnic group was defined by the census respondent, and the figures used to create these maps are for individuals self-identifying as Chinese or Asian (alone or in combination with one or more other races). The larger a circle, the higher its score on the IIS.

The circle diameters on each map are relative to that year’s data only, so the maps should not be used to compare absolute levels of segregation between the two years shown for each city, but instead to compare the changing distributions of locally strong ethnic communities over a ten year period.

Click the image below to view a higher resolution version of all six maps.

Chinatowns hi-res