I find that few things can tell a more effective story about a community than a map. One of my favorite tools to appear over the last few years is the US Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Housing Dynamics (LEHD) On The Map tool. On The Map works by combining Census and American Community Survey data with state and federal data sources on employment to provide insights on where people live and work.
Using the tool I ran a query on the Carrboro municipal boundaries for “all jobs” in 2010, and this is the resulting map. The total number of jobs in 2010 in Carrboro was estimated by LEHD to be a little under 4,700. But to me the most interesting thing was how heavily concentrated Carrboro’s job base is in downtown. If you look at the map you can see that there is some employment scattered through pretty much every neighborhood, and you can spot both the commercial cluster at Carrboro Plaza and relatively speaking, the town’s newest moderate-size node of employment, Carrboro High School.
Looking at the data by Census Block Group (a collection of several Census blocks) provides another window into how concentrated employment is in downtown Carrboro. A full 53% of all jobs in Carrboro are located in the Census block group that straddles Main Street and lies between the Chapel Hill town border and North Greensboro Street. The block group containing Town Hall, OWASA, 605 W Main, Chapel Hill Tire, and the commercial cluster from there to Looking Glass Cafe on the west side of Main Street has the second largest number of jobs.
The mill village comes in third due to businesses on the north side of Main Street, the West Weaver Street businesses, as well as Fitch Lumber. The fourth block group includes Carrboro Plaza, the Food Lion, Burger King, and other businesses on Jones Ferry Rd, as well as some medical offices and all the employees of the apartment complexes between Old Fayetteville Rd and NC 54.
Taken together, these four Census block groups hold 82% of employment in Carrboro. It is also worth noting that at the time of writing (early February 2013) the new Hampton Inn going up in downtown is in the heart of the 53% block group, and the new PTA Thrift shop is right at the border of where the 14% block group and 9% block group meet at the intersection of Main Street and Jones Ferry Rd.
I don’t have anything else to add on this data for now, but will likely refer back to this post in the future in other discussions.