Racial and Ethnic Composition of an Urban ZCTA and Census Tracts

Creation Year
Friday, January 1, 2016 - 12:00
Year of most recent data
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - 12:00

Elaina Johns-Wolfe, University of Cincinnati

Learning Goals


– Observe residential patterns and variation at different scales in an urban setting

– Analyze how patterns by race/ethnicity and income are related


– Learn where and how to access ACS data

– Create and read frequency and bivariate tables

– Create and analyze maps

– Quantitative reasoning and writing

Context for Use

This data analysis module was created for use in an upper-level undergraduate urban sociology course. The exercise is presented as part of a unit on racial and economic residential segregation to understand the relationship between the two, and broad patterns across an urban context. It is an introduction to data analysis, so students do not need to have a statistics or methods prerequisite.


To gauge student learning, a brief questionnaire should be given before and after the module to assess student skills and competencies.

In this module, students will use 2014 ACS 5-year estimates using CensusReporter.org and SocialExplorer.com to examine racial/ethnic and income residential patterns in an urban zip code tabulation area (ZCTA). Students will learn (1) how to navigate and access data on the websites (2) how to read and talk about tables, charts, and maps, and (3) how to write about and present these items in a PowerPoint report.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This module uses Social Explorer to teach students how to read tables and analyze spatial patterns on maps. Thus, access to Social Explorer is necessary to assign this module. It might be helpful to guide students on setting up their Social Explorer account.