Race, Ethnicity and Culture

In A City Of Neighborhoods, Which Is Louisville’s Most Diverse?

This production is part of WFPL News’ year-long project The Next Louisville: Race, Ethnicity and Culture.

What is Louisville’s most diverse neighborhood?

In a city where most neighborhoods are either majority-white or majority-black, the stories of those places with a mix of races, ethnicities and cultures become even more poignant. They offer a window into daily life, but they also broaden our sense of what it means to be diverse.

That word — diversity — is around a lot right now. You hear it in board rooms and on boards of education, from mayors and police chiefs and university presidents. What you don’t hear much about is what it actually means.

If a business where most of the employees are white hires more African-Americans, does that alone make it more diverse? Is diversity more about a state of mind, about who’s making decisions and who is influencing them directly?

We wanted to know more about what it means to have diversity at the neighborhood level. So we partnered with Pat Smith of Louisville’s Civic Data Alliance and determined, using data from the U.S. Census, which neighborhood is Louisville’s most diverse.

Here’s what we found (click to enlarge):

This map shows Louisville's most- and least-diverse neighborhoods. This map shows Louisville’s most- and least-diverse neighborhoods.

Southside is a small neighborhood just south of the Watterson Expressway. It’s bounded by Third Street to the west and Strawberry Lane to the east. It stretches south from Woodlawn Avenue to Kenwood Drive.

These days, about 4,500 people live in Southside. Using data from the U.S. Census, we determined the racial and ethnic makeup of the neighborhood to be the most diverse in Louisville.

Next Louisville GraphicWe used the Simpson Index to come up with a diversity score for each of the city’s neighborhoods. The more equal a neighborhood’s stock of races and ethnicities, the index says, the higher its score.

Southside came away with the highest score in the county. Of the roughly 4,500 residents, nearly 30 percent are white, 25 percent are black, 22 percent are Hispanic and 17 percent are Asian. Compare that with the city as a whole, where nearly 70 percent of residents are white, 23 percent are black, 4 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are Asian.

Hover over the Census tracts and search for your neighborhood (for example, “Germantown Louisville”) in this interactive map:

To listen to the story from WFPL’s Jake Ryan about daily life in Southside, as well as a broader discussion of diversity in Louisville, click the player above.

This package was edited and produced by Laura Ellis, Stephen George and Jake Ryan. Additional reporting and support from Pat Smith of the Louisville Civic Data Alliance.

The Next Louisville project is a collaboration between WFPL News and the Community Foundation of Louisville. For more work from the project, click here.

Listen to our neighborhood diversity special.

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