Racial Change in the Hartford Region, 1900 – 2010: An Animated Time-Slider Map

This is the third in a series of posts on web-based maps developed by the University of Connecticut Libraries Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) for the On The Line project.
Digital maps enable the ability to display dynamic changes to social phenomena in places throughout time. Hartford, throughout the 20th Century, saw dramatic shifts in the racial composition in both the city and county as a whole. Early in the century, the region’s population was predominantly white. During the middle of the century, the region began to diversify. This transformation began in the urban core and moved its way to the suburbs. This is portrayed in On The Line’s Racial Change in the Hartford Region (1900-2010) Animated Time-Slider Map. You can see this progression by simply dragging the time-slider to different years!
Here at MAGIC, we created a series of cartographic layers of Hartford County showing racial distribution based on the decennial census. These layers, from 1900 to 2010, demonstrate two things. The first is the increase of the non-white population in Hartford County throughout the 20th century. The second item, which is less noticeable, is the increasing detail in which the Census Bureau gathered racial data throughout the century. Early in the century, race was distinguished by “White” versus “Non-White” or “Negro”. By 1980, the Census was (and still is) gathering more detailed racial data – by including additional race and ethnicities such as Hispanics and Asians. This map also includes “pop up” labels that include percentages by race and ethnicity and total population figures. These labels can be viewed by clicking on any location on the map.
With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, MAGIC created this and other interactive maps with Jack Dougherty of Trinity College for the On The Line project. This and other maps are freely accessible in a public history web-book, titled On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, which tells the story of schooling and housing boundary lines that have divided metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut over the past century, as well as the struggles of ordinary families and civil rights activists who have sought to cross over, redraw, or erase these lines.
Technical Detail:
The cartographic layers for the Racial Change in the Hartford Region animated time-slider map were created using ESRI’s ArcMap software, then exported as KMZ files using the ArcToolbox conversion tool. To improve the formatting of the individual pop-up balloons, each balloon added custom HTML code to improve the overall display of the data, and then this layer was saved as a KMZ file.
The interactive map utilizes the Google Maps API v3 plus custom javascript code developed by Thomas Bachant and Jean-Pierre Haeberly to create the interface that incorporates each KMZ file by year with a time slider. Each time the time slider is moved, the corresponding KMZ file for that year is added to the map to allow users to visualize the data.
Special Thanks to Thomas Bachant and Jean-Pierre Haeberly for developing the custom javascript code for this map.

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