This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Measuring Neighborhood Diversity

For decades now social scientists have measured the segregation of neighborhoods. Reynolds Farley at the University of Michigan was a pioneer in this kind of work with his analysis of Detroit. The flip side of segregation is obviously diversity and Leo Castaneda from inewsource here in San Diego was interviewed today on KPBS radio about neighborhood diversity in San Diego, and it turned out that the interview had a few clips from conversations that he and I had as he was putting his story together, for which he was using data from the 2016 American Community Survey.
When two residents in the southeastern San Diego neighborhood of Encanto meet, there’s a 71 percent chance they’re of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In the coastal community of Cardiff, there’s only a 25 percent chance of that happening.
That makes Encanto one of the most diverse neighborhoods in San Diego County, and Cardiff one of the least diverse. Those findings are based on an inewsource analysis of ZIP codes with at least 10,000 residents.
John Weeks, director of the International Population Center at San Diego State University, said the index results reflect historic migration patterns and housing costs.

At one time, Weeks said, housing laws made it legal to exclude non-whites from buying homes in certain neighborhoods, particularly coastal communities.

“You have a built in, historic almost, lack of diversity along the coast. But these days, mainly it's price,” Weeks said. “That's what keeps you out, if you don't have the money. And the people who are most likely to have the money, still in this country, tend to be non-Hispanic whites.”
Leo also calculated diversity measures at the county level for California and found that Alameda County (which includes Berkeley and Oakland in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area) is the most diverse. It has large African American, Hispanic, and Asian populations, along with non-Hispanic Whites. In fact, the top eight most diverse counties in the state are all in northern California.

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