Who is your neighbor? One easy tool to find out.

May 2, 2019 | Churches, Education, Government, Hospitality, Technology, Vision

Who is your neighbor?

Do you know who lives in your neighborhood?

It’s easy to follow your routine and see the same people day in and day out without really knowing the diverse people that call your city home.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to use Statistical Atlas and US Census data to research your neighborhood.

Note: This article is focused on the US Census. Information on other areas may be available through regional government websites.

How to Discover Who Is In Your Neighborhood

Statistical Atlas has different demographics data like age, sex, race, and marital status. Here’s how to use it:

1. Go to https://statisticalatlas.com

Screenshot of Statistical Atlas website

2. A clickable map of the US appears, click on the state that you’re interested in.

Screenshot of Statistical Atlas website - Washington state

3. Click on your metropolitan area. You can continue to select a specific city, or begin looking at the demographic data available through the menu on the right hand side.

Screenshot of Statistical Atlas - demographics menu

4. Browse the different charts and topics to learn about your region.

For example, when searching for Seattle, I discovered that it’s a population size of 3.67 million.

Screenshot of chart with Relative Race and Ethnicity for Seattle, WA

Seattle has 4.6% more Asian people than the rest of Washington state.

Chart showing Relative Educational Attainment for Seattle, WA

Seattle has 13.8% more second-degree educated people than the rest of Washington

5. To find out what languages are spoken in your area, click on “Languages” in the right-side menu. You may need to generalize the search to the county or state to get data.

Screenshot of selecting a more general region in Statistical Atlas

For example, when searching for Seattle, I have to generalize my search to the state of Washington.

6. The results will show the language breakdown and the percentages in a chart. Now you know the language diversity in your area. Take note of the top 5 languages.

Chart of languages spoken at home in Washington state

I see that there are many Spanish speakers in my area with the next top four languages being Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Tagalog, and Korean.

7. Scroll down to the next chart which is titled “Speaking English ‘Very Well’”. This chart identifies which language groups have greater needs for translation. Certain language groups have higher English literacy rates, so their need for English translation is less than that of other groups.

Chart of Language Groups that rate for speaking English well versus less than well in Washington

I see that the language groups that have the greatest need for translation are Vietnamese, Korean, Other Asian, Chinese, and Khmer.

8. Compare the results from step 7 with those from step 6.

In this example, we see that Vietnamese and Korean rank high on both lists. This means translation efforts focused on Vietnamese and Korean can be very impactful for this community. On the flip side communities with higher English literacy still have translation needs, but may be easier to serve because more people in the community may be able to help.

9. How do you connect with people who speak these languages? One way is to find related non-profits in your area with a tool called Melissa.com. After entering your zip code, you can find a list of non-profits and find the ones that are related to the ethnic or language group you want to connect with.

Melissa.com screenshot showing zip code results for non-profits

Next Steps

These tools are not the only way to identify who is in your community, but they are a great way to start.

Here are additional questions you can think through:

1. In my daily routines, do I interact and have a relationship with people that speak these languages? If not, who do I interact with?

2. Who in my existing social circle is a part of or has a connection with these language groups?

3. What organizations work with these groups? Where do these language groups meet, relax, eat, and live?

4. How might I develop relationships within these communities?

If you wish to build deeper connections with these diverse people groups, another practical exercise is to identify the upcoming cultural holidays and look for public events celebrating the occasion.

Local government, or community websites like Nextdoor or Meetup are a starting place to search for these events. (Tip: search for language learning groups too!)

Some events may not have an online presence, so it’s a good idea to also search through other places like local newspapers and bulletin boards. And of course the next time a friend invites you to a cultural event, make it a priority to go!

There are lots of opportunities to get connected and build connections with people different from you–hopefully these ideas and tools help you get started on the journey.


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