The difficulties in measuring social differences at the local level—at the scale of a neighborhood—is one of the most significant challenges facing U.S. cities. Overcoming that challenge is of key interest to city planners. This course reviews various ways to measure both segregation and diversity at the neighborhood scale. The course works through an example using data for Chicago, showing how simple spreadsheet calculations can be used to map the locations of both neighborhood segregation and diversity.

In this video, Emily Talen walks through three techniques for measuring neighborhood segregation and diversity:

  1. The Simpson Diversity Index: an absolute measure of diversity which takes into account the number of categories (races, ages, income) in a given tract.
  2. The Neighborhood Diversity Index: a relative measure of diversity that considers whether the distribution in a given area differs from that of the city as a whole.
  3. The Segregation Dissimilarity Index: measures the segregation of two census tract groups compared to one another.