Race and Pollution in Maricopa County, AZ

Research Question

Is there a relationship between race and pollution within Maricopa County?


Maricopa County is located within central Arizona and contains the 5th largest city in the U. S.: Phoenix. It's mostly a commuter city and practically all industries are represented.


Looking at the "Pollution Map" below, we can see that most pollution is located in the south/central portion of Phoenix. This coincides with the Intel manufacturing facilities, chemical manufacturing and agriculture. The remaining pollution tends to run along the interstates which encircle the city.

As we move to the "Population Map" below, we can see that Maricopa County is a majority white county. Outside of the Indian reservations, most census tracts show that whites are in the majority, with the lone exception near Gila Bend in the southern half of the county.

Lastly, when we examine both population and pollution on the same map, we can see that most pollution occurs in mixed race areas. Hence, there is no correlation between race and pollution within Maricopa County.

Interactive Map

Below is an interactive map of this same data, using Tableau. If you click on the trend line, you'll see that the r2 value (the coefficient of determination) is roughly .008, which indicates that there is no significant correlation between race and pollution.

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