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The United States has a long history of racial disparities in education and access to housing.  Dubuque still faces many challenges in achieving equitable outcomes for our students and families of color.  After you are done exploring the data below, leave a comment at the bottom of the page in order to help further the conversation. 


As a district, we remain committed to removing barriers and enhancing resources to help all students, and especially our traditionally underrepresented students, succeed.


Achievement data is one of many indicators used to measure a school's progress, with additional factors such as academic growth, graduation rate, behavior data and school climate.


In 2019, the state launched a new statewide proficiency test, which was the first standardized state test since the 2016-17 testing data included in this data walk.  The new exam was only taken once and , while better aligned to state standards, the state continues to revise the test and the norms.  It is not directly comparable to previous tests.

Shirley Horstman, Executive Director of Student Services

Dubuque Community School District

Proficiency - Reading.PNG
Proficiency - Math.PNG
All Subgroups
By Race
By Free and Reduced Lunch

Whether looking at math and reading proficiency or FAFSA completion rates, income level and race matter in outcomes.  The IDEAL is for race and income to no longer determine future success.  We must look at disaggregated data to understand equity gaps, and we must bring economic stability to the people we serve if we are serious about seeing improvements in math and reading proficiency and pursuit of postsecondary education and training.

Donna Loewen, Dubuque College Access Network Coordinator

Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque



“Owning a home has been tied to personal wealth building throughout history.   Once a person has a home that they own, they can establish themselves in a community through stable employment and focus on their vision to build economic stability.  Past injustices have led to a racial wealth gap that is very apparent through this data.  These simple statistics show that less than 10% of Black or African American people in the Dubuque community actually own a home vs just under 70% of their white counterparts who own a home.  Black or African American people have an insurmountable task to try and overcome these past injustices, especially due to the lack of means available to be able to become a homeowner, therefore stifling their chances at growth or prosperity in the community and in turn perpetuating the racial wealth gap.”

Gina Hodgson, Assisted Housing Supervisor

City of Dubuque

The CHAS (Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy) data tracks four “housing problems,” and also details if those housing problems are “Severe." The Housing problems are:

  1. Housing unit lacks complete kitchen facilities

  2. Housing unit lacks complete plumbing facilities

  3. Household is overcrowded (more than 1 person per room)

    • Severe: more than 1.5 people per room

  4. Household is a cost burden (exceeds 30% of monthly income)

    • Severe: exceeds 50% of monthly income

Housing Problems
Severe Housing Problems


Redlining was a practice conducted between 1935 and 1940 by the agents of the U.S. Federal Government's Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) that used explicitly racial criteria to determine which homes and neighborhoods throughout the country would receive loans and investment.  This practice would leave a lasting impact on the United States, dramatically curtailing the ability of non-white families to build intergenerational wealth.  The Mapping Inequality project explains:

"HOLC staff members, using data and evaluations organized by local real estate professionals--lenders, developers, and real estate appraisers--in each city, assigned grades to residential neighborhoods that reflected their 'mortgage security' that would then be visualized on color-coded maps. Neighborhoods receiving the highest grade of 'A'--colored green on the maps--were deemed minimal risks for banks and other mortgage lenders when they were determining who should received loans and which areas in the city were safe investments. Those receiving the lowest grade of 'D,' colored red, were considered 'hazardous.'

HOLC created area descriptions to help to organize the data they used to assign the grades. Among that information was the neighborhood's quality of housing, the recent history of sale and rent values, and, crucially, the racial and ethnic identity and class of residents that served as the basis of the neighborhood's grade. These maps and their accompanying documentation helped set the rules for nearly a century of real estate practice.

These grades were a tool for redlining: making it difficult or impossible for people in certain areas to access mortgage financing and thus become homeowners. Redlining directed both public and private capital to native-born white families and away from African American and immigrant families. As homeownership was arguably the most significant means of intergenerational wealth building in the United States in the twentieth century, these redlining practices from eight decades ago had long-term effects in creating wealth inequalities that we still see today. "

Below is a map of Dubuque county showing several different breakdowns of census tracts by demographic, economic, and housing data.  The map can be interacted with and explored, and the filters showing these breakdowns can be changed by pressing the eye symbols to the right of the map.  We have placed this interactive map opposite a redlining map of Dubuque.  As you explore the interactive map of Dubuque, see how these two maps compare and consider how the history of redlining has shaped modern Dubuque.

How to Use the Map

  • Click on the triangle on the picture of the map below to begin interacting with the map.

  • You may move around the map by clicking and dragging on the map.

  • Use the + and - buttons to zoom in or out.

  • On the right side of the map are a series of filters showing different pieces of data.  To move between filters, click the picture of an eye next to the filter you want to activate.

    • The eye will be crossed off when it is not active.

    • Only have one filter active at any one time!  Make sure you turn off your previous filter by clicking the eye next to the filter so it is crossed off.

  • You may click on any of the census tracts to see the specific data for that tract and that filter​.

The​ map below has the following filters showing data for each census tract:

  1. Unemployment rate during June, 2020;

  2. Percent of population that is a racial or ethnic minority;

  3. Median age of the population;

  4. Percent of households that are renter occupied;

  5. Percent of households whose monthly household costs are 30% or more of their monthly income.

Redlining Map of Dubuque

Dubuque Redlining Smaller.PNG

Source: University of Richmond Mapping Inequality Project


Add your own reaction to this page so we can include it for future visitors



  • The data on unemployment during COVID-19 (June 2020) are estimates produced as part of a August 4, 2020 working paper by Yair Ghitza, chief scientist at Catalist, and Mark Steitz, principal at TSD Communications and an adjunct professor at Colombia University.  The working paper and data are available here. Additional visualizations can be found at the New York Times here. This data is estimated unemployment data, and should not be considered as reported data.

  • The 2018 Census Bureau's American Community Survey provided data on:

    • The percentage of residents who are a racial or ethnic minority,

    • The median age of residents,

    • The percent of households that are renter occupied, and

    • The percent of households where the monthly housing cost is 30% or more of the household's monthly income

  • The Dubuque redlining map was provided by ​the University of Richmond's Mapping Inequality project.  An interactive version of the map can be found here.

All data from the charts comes from the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa College Aid, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2013-2017 Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) dataset, and the American Community Survey, which is produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal government's primary system of financial aid for post-secondary education tuition. 

The CHAS (Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy) data tracks four “housing problems,” and also details if those housing problems are “Severe." The Housing problems are:

  1. Housing unit lacks complete kitchen facilities

  2. Housing unit lacks complete plumbing facilities

  3. Household is overcrowded (more than 1 person per room)

    • Severe: more than 1.5 people per room

  4. Household is a cost burden (exceeds 30% of monthly income)

    • Severe: exceeds 50% of monthly income

Continue Exploring

The killing of George Floyd in June 2020 has put the spotlight on institutional racism in our criminal, legal, and prison systems. How do different racial groups experience these systems in Dubuque?

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