Inspiration

The pre-existing knowledge that many public school systems in Houston are racially segregated inspired us to choose this topic and explore the linguistic and racial distributions across Harris County.

Process

Using the American Community Survey dataset, we averaged our variables and found the correlation coefficients between all pairs of variables, which we used to look for important trends in the data. We realized that geographical location was a critical factor in most of the data, so we decided to create a 2D graph of latitude and longitude, along with a color scale to represent variables over location. We cross-referenced the data from the American Community Survey and the Public Schools in the Houston Region to identify important correlations in relation to location.

What we learned

The density of Asian/Pacific Islander languages households in schools and the density of households speaking Asian/Pacific Islander languages matched up well; however, the density of Spanish speaking households in schools does not mirror the density of Spanish speaking households. Furthermore, the percent Hispanic and the percent Asian/Pacific Islander distributions greatly contrast each other, while the percent white and the percent black distributions greatly contrast each other.

Challenges

In order to relate to a geographical location, we had to convert the census block group codes into latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. We solved this issue by finding data from SafeGraph. We then had to cross-reference this data with the school data, which required interpolation since the locations of the schools and block groups were not perfectly coordinated. Our first visualizations had issues with outliers skewing the color scale to make variations at lower levels nearly indistinguishable. To solve these, we used a log scale, which amplifies differences at the lower levels and minimizes them at higher levels.

Possible Solutions

  1. Promote rezoning of school districts to raise diversity of languages
  2. Disincentivize suburban migration, which tends to leave less wealthy social groups and minorities in poorer school districts

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