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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Mapping Race and Segregation in Vancouver and Clark County, Washington, 1960-2020

In 1970, 99% of the residents of Clark County identified as White. 548 Black folks, 398 Indigenous Americans, 371 with Asian/PI ancestries, and 151 with Hispanic backgrounds resided in the county, many in an impoverished Vancouver neighborhood near the I-5 bridge across the Columbia. These people were survivors, the remnants of what had been a much larger nonwhite population. In 1945, a wartime census had estimated that 8,825 African Americans lived in Vancouver. In the years that followed, they were pushed out, denied jobs and housing, forced to leave. The city and county have slowly diversified since the 1980s, but it was not until 2010 that the Black population of the county approached the 1945 number. Watch the slow process of re-diversification on these maps. Move through the decades. Select a race category, either by percentage or number of residents. Click a census tract for detailed information about a neighborhood which appears in the "Tract populations" window in middle column. These maps are hosted by Tableau Public and may take a few seconds to respond. If slow, refresh the page.


Notes: Data are from the National Historic Geographic Information System (IPUMS). The most recent data is labeled 2020* but to improve accuracy we use an average of five Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) samples from 2018-2022.

Race categories and census tracts: The Census Bureau adds and adjusts the boundaries of census tracts nearly every decade. It also changes the data it reports and the racial categories. For 1940, all nonwhites were reported as a combined category. In 1950, this became two categories, “Negroes” and “Other races.” Since most of the “others” would have been Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos with small numbers of Native Americans, we relabeled this as “Asian/other races.” It was not until 1970 that a reliable set of questions identified people of Hispanic heritage. That is also when Indigenous Americans were first identified in census tract data.

Credits: These maps and tables were created by Anna Yoon, Brian Lam, Gihoon Du, Jiang Wu, and Yurika Harada using data and shape files from the National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS). The work was a class project for Geography 469 GIS Workshop taught by Professor Sarah Elwood-Faustino Spring 2017. James Gregory added the 2020 maps.

Source: calculated from Steven Manson, Jonathan Schroeder, David Van Riper, and Steven Ruggles. IPUMS National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 12.0 [Database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. 2017.


Race and Segregation in Washington Cities and Counties 1940-2019

See these maps of race and segregation for other Washington counties.

Tacoma 1950-2019
Spokane 1950-2019
Everett 1960-2019
Vancouver/Clark County 1960-2019
Tri-Cities 1970-2019
Seattle/King County 1940-2019