Neighborhoods focuses on place-based inequality, particularly on how the housing and transportation systems determine access to opportunity and resources

Topic Score

Equity Score 48.25 Score is an average of this topic's indicator scores


The eight indicators in this topic quantify racial disparities in neighborhoods, and suggest ways we can make progress toward equitable outcomes. Neighborhoods focuses on place-based inequality, particularly on how the housing and transportation systems determine access to opportunity and resources. Inequity in these areas compound, which leads to inequities in many other aspects of life, from health to wealth, for years to come.

Black residents in the City of St. Louis are more likely than white residents to live in low-opportunity environments. Black residents are more likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty and have longer commute times. 

Residents of majority-black neighborhoods are more likely to live in neighborhoods suffering from disinvestment. Vacancy and illegal dumping are more prevalent in black neighborhoods. Banks originate fewer home loans to residents looking to buy and rehabilitate properties in black neighborhoods. 

Residents of majority-black neighborhoods are less likely to have access to amenities than residents of majority-white neighborhoods. While the disparities are small, these are all important for the city to track as investments or changes in policy are made. Amenities studied included transit, healthy food, and parks.  

For the Equity Indicators Project, the measures chosen focus on racial disparities. The indicators are reflective of the Ferguson Commission’s calls to action around housing and transportation, but not all calls to action related to housing and transportation are addressed within the scope of this project. 


Expand all

What is our equity score for this topic?

48.25 on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the score on a scale from 1 to 100, the closer we are toward achieving equity.

Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are reflected in this topic?

The Ferguson Commission priorities to address economic inequality related to neighborhoods include housing and transportation. Specific calls to action addressed in this report include:

What institutions and organizations were assessed?

The institutions assessed in this topic include mortgage lending institutions and our regional transit agency, Metro St. Louis. 

Where did the data come from?

The data used in this topic comes from the American Community Survey, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the City of St. Louis, Bi-State Development Agency, East-West Gateway, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and The Trust for Public Land.

What stakeholders were consulted?

The stakeholders consulted include Bi-State Development Agency, the City of St. Louis Planning Department, East-West Gateway, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative, and Team TIF. Special thanks go to Andrew Arkills of Team TIF for collaborating on the analysis of Citizen Service Bureau data, which was used to develop the Illegal Dumping metric. We worked closely with Planning Division staff at Bi-State and consulted with transit researchers at TransitMatters and the Boston Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to develop the Transit Frequency metric.

What metrics are missing and why?

Unlike some other topics, the Neighborhoods topic had many potential metrics that were appropriate and available for a racial disparity analysis. Metrics that were considered but were not incorporated due to space considerations include neighborhood crime rates1, concentration of subsidized housing, housing conditions, and access to services such as banks and accredited childcare.

Desirable indicators for which we do not yet have reliable data include sidewalk quality, bikeability, and access to thriving business districts. Trailnet conducts an annual Pedestrian and Bicyclist Census.

Crime is addressed in this report as part of the Violent Crime Victimization indicator in the Health and Safety topic.

Neighborhoods Equity Indicators

Number Indicator Equity Score
1 N1: Concentrated Poverty
Black residents are more than three times more likely than white residents to live in areas of concentrated poverty.
2 N2: Home Loan Originations
There are nearly eight times as many home loan originations per capita in majority-white census tracts as in majority-black census tracts.
3 N3: Vacancy
There are more than nine times as many acres of vacant land and buildings in majority-black census tracts as in majority-white census tracts.
4 N4: Illegal Dumping
Residents of majority-black neighborhoods report illegal dumping nearly four times more often than residents of majority-white neighborhoods. 
5 N5: Commuting Time
Black workers have a 22% longer mean commute time than white workers.
6 N6: Transit Frequency
Residents of majority-black and majority-white census tracts have similar frequency of transit service.
7 N7: Access to Healthy Food
Black residents are nearly twice as likely as white residents to live in census tracts with low access to healthy food.
8 N8: Access to Parks
White and black residents are almost equally likely to live within a 10-minute walk of a park.
  2018 Equity Score 48.25


Was this page helpful?      

Comments are helpful!
500 character limit

Feedback is anonymous.