I don’t need Christmas presents. All I ask for is new data. The US Census slid down my chimney with 2014 ACS data at the census block group level. Block groups are the smallest level that the census publishes, which means I can look at city’s at a more up-to-date and granular level, neighborhood by neighborhood.
The first thing I did was to check up on the population changes of uptown and downtown Dallas between 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately, I’m limited by census tract boundaries, which don’t exactly jive with what we might interpret as “uptown” or “downtown.”
Downtown does have very physical boundaries being the highway loop. Luckily, the census boundaries align with these physical boundaries.
Uptown is a little more complicated. In fact, if you were to ask a rando on the street what the boundaries of uptown are, you might get a thousand different answers. For example, would you call Victory uptown? I wouldn’t because these aren’t the boundaries of the Uptown Public Improvement District, but others might. It’s funny how successful places perceptually grow in the sphere of public consciousness due to marketing. Every newly announced office building or office tenant is in “uptown” even when many aren’t officially, but are just nearby.
The dilemma of what is uptown is solved for us because the census tract that includes Victory extends into the official uptown boundaries, so for this analysis Victory is included in uptown. For these reasons, the boundaries for uptown in this instance are Stemmons, Woodall Rodgers, 75 (ugh, three highways), Katy Trail, and Fitzhugh (since the northernmost block group extends from West Village to Fitzhugh).
Interestingly, and perhaps luckily for comparison purposes, this puts both study areas at about 1.45 square miles. For perspective, in 1990 these two areas had populations of 4,809 (uptown) and 3,444 (downtown). By 2000, these numbers changed to 8,596 (uptown) and 2,198 (downtown – my favorite part is the 1 person who lived in Arts District tract in both ’90 and ’00). As you can tell, 1990 was about when uptown had bottomed out, but revitalization work had begun. Thus, the doubling in size from ’90 to 2000. However, downtown bottomed out around 2000, hence the nearly 40% drop in population over that ten year span.
To the new data which is happier since both are growing.
In 2013, downtown population was up to 6,742 – an impressive tripling since 2000. In 2014, downtown grew by 8% to 7,298.
On the other hand, uptown was up to 16,920 by 2013 – a number which has continued to grow, as evidenced by the cranes, to 17,684.
I also recorded changes in median income as well as commuting patterns by block group, but I’ll save those for another time.