Per Capita Income Doesn’t Grow on Trees

In his blog, “Per Square Mile”, Tim de Chant has been mapping income inequality by looking at local differences in tree cover. He has found that areas with higher income also have a greater density of trees. Data Driven Detroit’s analysts wanted to see if the same data could be tracked within Detroit. Our tract-level data from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey reveals the areas of greatest income inequality within Detroit. The census tract containing Palmer Woods has income per capita approximately five times greater than the tract directly across Woodward Avenue. The Indian Village neighborhood’s census tract has per capita income estimated at nearly four times that of its neighboring tract to the east.

When mapping these tracts, along with SEMCOG’s aerial imagery, differences in tree cover do appear to correspond to income disparity. Based on similar satellite imagery, Sanborn estimates that the land cover in Palmer Woods is 36.1 percent woody, while trees account for only 11.8 percent of land cover across Woodward. 33.7 percent of the land cover in Indian Village is woody, compared to 28.4 in the tract next door.

An aerial shot of tree density of Palmer Woods

An aerial shot of tree density of Indian Village

Are neighborhood trees important to you? Read more at “Per Square Mile”, explore land cover with One D: D3’s interactive mapping and profile tool, and tell us in the comments!