The following statistics were calculated by aggregating 2020 census blocks into Milwaukee neighborhoods. Because of data quality concerns stemming from the Census Bureau’s new differential privacy techniques, I do not present data for neighborhoods with fewer than 400 residents.
The 2020 Census reconfirmed Milwaukee’s status as one of the most segregated cities and metropolitan areas in the United States.
According to Brown University’s Diversity and Disparities Project, metro-wide Black-white segregation declined slightly, but the Milwaukee metro still ranks 2nd-most segregated, just as in 2010. Within city limits, the absolute degree of Black-white segregation measured by Brown University remained unchanged, and segregation between other groups declined only modestly.
These dismal statistics point to how far Milwaukee remains from being a fair place to live for most of its residents. Still, there are neighborhoods in Milwaukee that saw significant positive change over the last decade. Their populations grew more representative of the city as a whole.
Walk Score is a company which generates eponymous scores for towns and addresses based on how many staples of everyday life you can walk to. A score of 0 means nothing is in walking distance. An entirely walkable community scores 100. New York City scores 88, Los Angeles 69, Houston 47, Scottsdale 32.
I grew up in Bardolph, Illinois with a walk score of 7. We lived within walking distance of three places where I could legally spend money–the post office and two pop machines. Bardolph wasn’t always this way. My great-aunts could recall catching the train to the county seat. During my mom’s childhood, the village still had a grocery store, pool hall, schools, and two churches. The high school consolidated in 1973, and the grade school merged with Adair in 1979. The Presbyterian church closed in the early 1990s, while the Methodist church lingered just a few years longer. Last time I visited, the pop machines were gone, and the post office was only staffed 2 hours a day.
Bardolph is a little closer to oblivion than some of its neighbors. But all of McDonough County’s small towns–Adair (walk score: 7), Good Hope (10), Industry (8), Prairie City (17)–are well along that same trajectory.
These low walk scores aren’t a consequence of car-centric design. You could walk to the furthest corners of each in 15 minutes, possibly even on a sidewalk. There is just almost nowhere left to walk to.