Destruction of the environment at the hands of humans for the purpose of economic gain has a detrimental effect on not only the natural world, but also on the wellbeing of people across the world. Increasingly, minority communities with little governmental or legal protection are being forced to endure the repercussions of environmental crises (such as pollution and the dumping of hazardous waste) and climate change at a much higher rate compared to more affluent, non-minority communities. In the United States, the communities faced with the consequences of environmental degradation tend to be lower-socioeconomic, minority people living in communities that are afforded little protection under the law. My Senior Independent Study examines the relationship between the locations of high- and low-polluting industrial sites and the neighboring communities’ characteristics. Using spatial data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis, I quantitatively analyzed race and income and compared the percentages of these demographics both near and far from industrial sites. I investigated this relationship near high-polluting industrial sites in Detroit, Michigan; industrial hog farms in North Carolina; and near low-polluting wind farms in Texas. From the results of my analysis, there are higher percentages of the total population that is white located near industrial sites in Michigan, North Carolina, and Texas. On the variable of annual median household income, Michigan was the only region in which there was lower annual median household income closer to industrial sites, with the opposite being found in Texas and North Carolina.


Alley, Karen




environment, environmental justice, income, race

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2020 Sarah P. Bonnelle-Roberts