The Racially Segregated US Coastline

Go to any beach town in the United States, and you notice a disturbing trend. While the town itself might be racially diverse, the actual waterfront property is almost exclusively occupied by white people. Using race and population data from the 2010 census mapped by National Geographic, we were able to spot this rampant form of racial segregation throughout the country from rural coastal communities to tourist towns to major cities. In each location, people of color have been systematically excluded from living on the shore. What’s more startling though is that there are often large communities of color just a little further inland, where many are presumably low-wage service workers whose labor makes the affluent lives of the coastal white people possible.

It wasn’t long ago that most coastal real estate was considered unattractive (too buggy and humid) to white folks, allowing minority cultures like that of the Gullah and the Isle de Jean Charles Tribe to thrive for generations. But as the coasts have become gentrified in recent years, those communities have been forced out.

Eastern Shore
The Eastern Shore of Virginia.
fort lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Gulfport, Mississippi.
Cape Kumukahi on the Big Island of Hawai’i.
los angeles
Los Angeles, California.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Seattle, Washington.
monmouth county.png
Monmouth County, New Jersey.
East Cleveland, Ohio.


  1. Ironically, people appear to have overlooked rising sea levels and the increased probability of storms, tidal surges, etc.


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