Where Does it All Go?: An Analysis on the Communities Surrounding Illinois Landfills

Faculty Sponsor

Jon-Paul McCool


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


Landfills have the capacity to inflict adverse health, property value, and quality of life impacts, whether the magnitude of such impacts is beyond the variability inherent in any society is unknown. This research considers the placement of Illinois landfills to assess whether they are disproportionately sited in low-income and minority neighborhoods and to assess the degree of separation between host and non-host neighborhoods. Multiple Python scripts using the ArcPy module were written to facilitate rapid, repeat analyses with census and geographical boundary data in ArcGIS. Census data were analyzed for 1990, 2000, and 2010 with host and non-host neighborhoods defined as census block groups within a 3-kilometer radius of a landfill while non-host neighborhoods were those beyond that radius in order to assess impacted versus non-impacted demographics. Upon running two-sample t-tests, there is evidence to conclude that the average median household income of host neighborhoods is significantly lower than non-host neighborhoods for 1990, 2000, and 2010 at the 0.05 significance level. The average percentage of Black residents in host neighborhoods is significantly higher than in non-host neighborhoods for 1990, 2000, and 2010 at the 0.05 significance level. Exploratory visual analyses using boxplots did not convey the possibility of a significant growth in minority populations of host neighborhoods overtime.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Emma is a senior Geography and Statistics double major.

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