Urban Geography

Trends in Baltimore Segregation and Their Implications

When studying the various maps of the urban geography of Baltimore City, one will notice some obvious trends based on race and economic factors. From maps detailing the data between 1990 and 2000, there is a noticeable segregation taking place between black, white, and Hispanic residential areas as well as between higher and lower income areas. In the period of a decade, the segregation only becomes more severe, which has negative implications, including an eroding economic impact upon blacks in the inner-city. The only way that Baltimore City government officials would have of relieving this issue is by studying the facts, recognizing the trends, and offering solutions based on their conclusions of the data in the maps.

Focusing on the maps for the year 1990, the map for total population shows a patchwork pattern of higher vs. lower population neighborhoods across the city, with a more dense population evident in the northern neighborhoods from the Orchards to Loch Raven and in western neighborhoods from Seton Business Park to Greenspring, both the northern and western populations spread out from west to east (Total 1990). The map depicting the white population for the same year shows a dense white population spread out in an X-formation across the city, but also along the north-central and south-central neighborhoods, from Cross Country to North Roland Park in the north and Violetville across to Holabird Industrial Park (White 1990). The map depicting the black population shows a heavy concentration of blacks in the central and western regions, spanning as far out as Seton Business Park (Black 1990). The Hispanic population seems to take up its own little southeastern corner of the city, including Little Italy and O'Donnell Heights (Hispanic 1990). With regard to differences in population between residential areas of high vs. low economic status, the population having higher economic status seems to be spread out around the perimeter of the city, with concentrated areas in the north-central neighborhoods from Cheswolde to Cedarcroft (Income 1990).

Essentially, the main picture we see is one of subtle, but definite segregation. The black population focuses in on the central and western side of the city, the whites mostly spread themselves out along the north and south, and the Hispanics are condensed into a small area in the bottom left-hand corner. The black population certainly seems to dominate the northwestern region of the city, and the whites dominate the north central section, with the exception of a huge split in black/white population with blacks on the eastern side of York Road and whites on the western side. All of the other racial lines in the city seem to be blurred; although the whites own an overwhelming percent of the population in the Hispanic corner, the Hispanic population is most dense there.

Studying the maps for 2000, however, we see very noticeable changes in all the maps. The white population still inhabits the same area as it did ten years prior, but there is a noticeable shift in the density of population to geographic location with an increase in white population along the north and south borders of the city (White 2000). The black population also inhabits the same areas, but their populations, instead of migrating, simply increase in their percentages, the population in…