Chapter 6 Environmental Justice Alternative Policy C - Modify Minority and English Isolation Criteria by Income

Rather than changing the base criteria from 2010, this option adds a modifier to the criteria for minority and English isolation. Specifically, block groups qualify for environmental status by minority or English isolation only if the median income of the block group does not exceed 125% of the statewide median. This means that, regardless of criteria, the median income cannot exceed $92,708.75.

Under Alternative Environmental Justice Policy C 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
  • 25 percent or more of the residents are minority AND the median annual household income does not exceed 125 percent of the statewide median income for Massachusetts; or
  • 25 percent or more of the residents are lacking English language proficiency AND the median annual household income does not exceed 125 percent of the statewide median income for Massachusetts.

Compared to the benchmark 2010 environmental justice community criteria, the income-modified criteria of this alternative policy reduces the number of block groups qualifying as an environmental justice community by 462, from 2193 to 1731 in total. Under this Environmental Justice Alternative Policy C, 34.8% of Massachusetts block groups are classified as environmental justice communities. This classification can be visualized in Figure 6.1 below, which shows the relative proportion 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 C - Modify Minority and English Isolation Criteria by Income.

Figure 6.1: Tree map of block groups classified as environmental justice by Alternative EJ Policy C - Modify Minority and English Isolation Criteria by Income.

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 layer button (white box in the upper right of the map) and activate the Lost EJ Policy C layer in the map to see the block groups that are delisted (i.e. “Lost”) as environmental justice communities under Policy C, shown as light red or salmon colored polygons.