US Poverty & Wealth

by Eimar Boesjes on August 28, 2013

in Bing Maps, Data Sources, New York, Registered Voters Data

These images show the income levels of voters in the US from light yellow for low incomes to red for high incomes.

Income distribution in the USA Income levels of US voters


The first thing that jumps out is that 80% of the US population lives in the Eastern half of the US.  You can almost take a straight line from Fargo down through Lincoln, Wichita and Fort Worth to San Antonio and 80% of the population lives to the right of that line.  The rest of the population lives within 100 miles of the West Coast.  The exceptions are Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.  This image shows that yellow (low incomes) is the dominant color in rural areas and in inner cities.   The highest concentration of red (high incomes) is around the large urban areas with by far the most red shown in the Northeast. The corridor from Washington DC to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and on to Boston shows the largest amount of Red.


Income distrbution of voers in the Northeastern USA Income levels in the Northeastern USA


The image above shows the concentration of wealth in the major metropolitan areas in the Northeast.  Each of the metro areas has a yellow center showing the low income levels in the urban center.  Read ‘rivers’ flow outwards into the countryside showing the richer suburban areas.  This image also clearly shows the effect that the Apalachian Mountains have on the location of cities and towns.  The population ‘swirls’ around the major metro areas on the left side.

These data visualizations were created in the following way.  We used the national voter files compiled by Labels & Lists and mapped each address to a Latitude/Longitude using Bing Maps.  This gave us almost 95 million addresses for which we have voter data.  Labels & Lists added in estimated income levels from commercial data sources.  Estimated income data was available for 45% of the US voters, or almost 70 million people on 46 million addresses.  These images show the 70 million registered voters for which income data was available.  Because lower incomes tend to register to vote less than higher income levels the amount of yellow is probably underrepresented.  We used VoterMapping to generate each of these images on a single server in the cloud in a few seconds.  Population density is visualized by the color transparency.  The lower the population density, the more transparent the data is colored.  As a result you see density patterns in the population visualization. 

Poverty & Wealth in New York City Income levels for New York City and Long Island visualized over Bing Maps


The image above shows the income levels in New York City and Long Island.  You can see that the Bronx and Harlem have relatively low income levels and income levels sharply increase North of New York in Westchester, east of the city on Long Island, as well as west of Newark.  The inner cities are relatively poor whereas the suburban areas are richer.  An exception, of course, is Manhattan.

US income levels by County US income levels by County


In the above image each county in the US is colored by their average income level.  This image gives a better view on comparing areas, but of course the population density information is lost.

Here are some more images: 

Income distribution of voters in the Southern USA


Poverty & Wealth in Los Angeles, California Poverty & Wealth of registered voters in Los Angeles, California






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