Future Land Use Map, meet the Racial Dot Map...it needs your help.

The Racial Dot Map was hailed as a statistical masterpiece, revealing patterns of racial segregation across the US, but the Weldon Cooper Center says they don't have the funding to update it.

Racial Dot Map of the Charlottesville area. Image Copyright, 2013, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (Dustin A. Cable, creator)

Back in 2013, the "Racial Dot Map" created by a statistician in the Demographics and Workforce Group at UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Dustin Cable, was hailed as a statistical "masterpiece" and received national attention [See "The Best Map Ever Made of America's Racial Segregation"]. The map basically presented the distribution of the entire U.S. population by race using an interactive, color-coded map (White (blue), Black (green), Asian (red), Hispanic (orange), Other (brown).) For many towns and cities across the country, including Charlottesville, it was a startling and revealing visual representation of racial segregation in their communities. Just last month, the Racial Dot Map even inspired a poem by Tomás Q. Morín that was published in the New York Times Magazine:

New Year’s Eve

By Tomás Q. Morín

In America blue dots are an ocean

full of fish with no gills. I need to believe I can breathe

underwater. When you see your reflection in this map,

what story do the dots tell you

Now, the folks at Weldon Cooper want to update the famous map using 2020 census data [the last map was based on 2010 data], but there's just one problem...they have not yet been able to secure funding for the project.

"I also remember the attention back in 2013 for the map," says Amy Muldoon, a project manager at the Weldon Cooper Center. "Unfortunately, no, we have not secured funding [to update the map] at this point."

"The 2020 Census will be available very soon and we are looking to develop the Racial Dot Map again with the new population numbers,” says JC Ignaszewski, director of development at the Weldon Cooper Center.  “There are some key areas we are seeking support to do the meaningful work in creating the RDM.”

According to Ignaszewski, they’ve budgeted for $1M to re-create the map, hire an expert in coding, provide analysis and customer service to end-users, customization enhancements to the map and assistance from partners (gaining their expertise). Also, this includes storage capacity costs and the money will serve a ten-year period. Anyone who wants to learn more or help provide funding can reach out to Mr. Ignaszewski at ji5r@virginia.edu.

Locally, the Racial Dot Map looms over another map, the Future Land Use Map, which is and will be the subject of a difficult debate, as it presents the stark patterns of racial segregation across the city that define our neighborhoods. Another stark reminder -- that concentration of green dots to the east of the city in the form of a box? The Fluvanna Women's Correctional Center.

What might an updated Racial Dot Map using 2020 Census information reveal about the Charlottesville area? Will those patterns on the current map have changed during the last decade? You can help Weldon Cooper make that map possible here:

Would You Help Us?

We would like to produce a new racial dot map using 2020 census data, but in order to do that we must have funding. To compete for funding, we are asking map users to provide examples of how the map has been used and the ways in which it has had impact. Further, if you have suggestions for funding opportunities for the next map, we will be happy to pursue them.

Click here.