Chapter 4 Environmental Justice Alternative Policy A - Increase Minority Percentage to 30

According to the ACS 1 year 2018 estimate for Massachusetts, minorities make up 27.8% of the population in Massachusetts. We can use that number as a starting point and round up to 30%, assuming the percentage will increase in the near future.

Under Alternative Environmental Justice Policy A option, environmental justice communities are defined as neighborhoods (U.S. Census Bureau census block groups) that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The median annual household income is at or below 65 percent of the statewide median income for Massachusetts; or
  • 30 percent or more of the residents are minority; or
  • 25 percent or more of the residents are lacking English language proficiency.

Compared to the minority threshold of 25%, the 30% threshold for the Minority criterion reduces the number of block groups qualifying as an environmental justice community by 224, from 2193 to 1969 in total. Under this Environmental Justice Alternative Policy A, 39.5% of Massachusetts block groups are classified as environmental justice communities. This classification can be visualized in Figure 4.1 below, which shows the percentage of block groups that fall into each category or combination of environmental justice criteria.

Tree map of block groups classified as environmental justice by Alternative EJ Policy A - Increase Minority Percentage to 30.

Figure 4.1: Tree map of block groups classified as environmental justice by Alternative EJ Policy A - Increase Minority Percentage to 30.

These classifications can be visualized and explored geographically in the interactive map below. Click on the search tool (white box in upper left of map) and type in a town or city name to zoom to that municipality. Click on individual block groups to see more detailed demographics. Click on the layers button (white box in the upper right of the map) and activate the Lost EJ Policy A layer in the map to see the block groups that are delisted (i.e. “Lost”) as environmental justice communities under Policy A, shown as light red or salmon colored polygons.