Report suggests Pokémon Go favors white neighborhoods


  • Shutterstock
Pokémon Go has taken over the country since its launch last week. However, the game's release has not come without problems. And now, a new report suggests the app hinders play in black neighborhoods.  

The Bellville News-Democrat published an article entitled "There are fewer Pokémon Go locations in black neighborhoods, but why?" 

The article's primary example was Detroit, which it called "the starkest case." Poké stop locations are not public, but the News-Democrat pointed out "the locations of poké stops and gyms are taken from the locations of 'portals' in Niantic's previous augmented-reality GPS-based game, Ingress."

Using an interactive map, (which you can view here) the article suggests the "city's borders can basically be drawn from a map of the area's Ingress portals."

The article points out that with the exception of downtown, there are very few portals in the city. As you can see from the graphic below, the surrounding suburbs have noticeably more portals. 


"Without poké stops and gyms in their neighborhoods, players have to pay real money to collect items other players can get for free," author Christopher Huffaker pointed out. 

The article goes on to look at similar disparities in Washington D.C. and Miami.

It's important to note that Niantic crowdsourced the locations it used in Ingress from its users, so the inconsistencies are likely not intentional. 

Niantic did not respond to the News-Democrat's questions about the diversity of poké stop locations.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.