Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Geography of Murder


In 2015 there were over 13,000 gun murders in the United States. Those murders weren't distributed equally throughout the country (even if you normalize the data for population). In fact 26% of gun homicides in 2015 took place in just 1,200 neighborhood census tracts, home to just 1.5% of the population.

The Guardian has used data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) to plot the locations of 2015 gun homicides down to the census tract level. In the article Want to fix gun violence in America? Go local The Guardian uses a series of maps to show the neighborhoods in different cities where gun homicides most frequently occur. It then uses census data to determine factors which are common to many of the 1,200 census tracts where gun homicides are most common.

The Guardian's maps show the distribution of gun homicides within cities. The city maps also show the levels of educational attainment, poverty and the percentage of the population which is black in each census tract in the city. From mapping 2015 gun homicides The Guardian says that gun violence "falls heaviest on neighborhoods already struggling with poverty, unemployment, and failing schools. The unequal burden of violence is also marked by intense racial disparities".

You can read more about the data used in The Guardian's maps in Mapping US gun murders at a micro level: new data zooms in on violence. You can also download the data if you want to try visualizing 2015 U.S. gun homicides for yourself.
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