Who Felt the Quake? Who Has Money?

Quake Reponse Data, Mapped

If you go by the raw numbers on the USGS.gov site, one might conclude that rich people felt the quake more than working class people, even though it happened in Inglewood.

The USGS.gov site has a cool feature where you can submit a quake report describing how it felt. You fill in your zip code, and some info about how much things were damaged, or not. During the recent quake on Sunday night, they collected more than 4,000 reports.

As you might expect, this received data was biased to come from upper-middle-class people, and probably younger people. I’ll leave it to the comments to speculate about biases. Details and links after the jump.

The data set I discuss here was from the night of the quake. Much more data has come in, and I’ll work on updating as time allows.

The degree of difference in the numbers was pretty large. Aliso Viejo, an area next to Laguna Beach and Laguna Hills, far from the epicenter, topped the list at 500 respondents. Conversely, zip codes in areas like Compton, Bell, and L.A. had around 10 to 50 respondents, despite being close to the epicenter (and probably more populous).

I took the data and mapped it via Google Maps and Google Earth. So you can mouse around and “take a tour” of who is “wired” and who is not “wired.”

A quick web search for “digital divide” revealed something surprising: people don’t care anymore. The issue came up in the mid 90s, and then again around 2000, but, today, the policy-wonk-writers haven’t said much about the domestic digital divide. Much of the attention is on the third world.

To be certain, there is a global digital divide between our “postmodern” or late-capitalist country and the third world, but, there is also a domestic one. When useful government services like USGS.gov are used ten times more (or more) by rich people than poor people, there’s a problem.

Click to view the map in Google Maps. You’ll have to zoom in to view the markers.

Click to download a file that you can view in Google Earth.

Click to view the current data at the USGS.

4 thoughts on “Who Felt the Quake? Who Has Money?

  1. Danny Weizmann, perhaps one of the most brilliant wordsmiths of which Los Angeles has ever surrogately birthed (the man knows a GREAT amount about Boyle Heights, lemme tell ya), stated within seconds of the Introdesia on his first Gregg Ginn-produced CD: “. . . what good will corporate power be anyways, when a bunch of big fucking bricks are falling on your face?”

    Weizmann knew, man, he KNEW.

    Word up?

  2. Indeed… but unreinforced masonry is illegal in this state, it’s a relic of the 20th century, except where it’s not yet been found in those old buildings which have dodged the developer’s wrecking ball, or when the homeowner or landlord hasn’t fixed the problem.

    See the link.

  3. I get the sense that people are okay with the digital divide now that there’s public computers at libraries. It’s like indoor plumbing is merely a luxury if the neighbors have access to a public well.

  4. Man, I feel a new digital divide. I tried to do the twitter thing with the LA Marathon, and it sucked because my phone is an older black-and-white model that’s prepaid. So I get these tweets, and it’s like, almost a dime to read them, and they don’t write anything good. It’s all some URL.

    I wrote a couple tweets, figuring we’re all on the same page, about really digging L.A., but it didn’t work out that way.

    One thing that was cool. I moved into West Adams, which is in the middle of the route. All the traffic was gone, except for other people looking for a way to check out the marathon.

    All the roads were blocked off, and you could only get in through the freeways. There were a lot of cops and fire trucks, but they were just hanging out or saving someone who got hurt. Many businesses were closed, people weren’t working, and it was easy to drive around. I don’t think the buses were running.

    It’s starting to sound like some wealthy gated community.

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