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.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Spatial Diversity of Racial Diversity of the United States

My thanks to Rubén Rumbaut for pointing me to a new infographic put together by demographer Bill Frey at the Brookings Institution. These maps show the spatial diversity of racial diversity in the United States, using the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, anticipating what we are likely to find in the upcoming 2020 Census.
The new estimates indicate that, for the nation as a whole, Hispanic residents comprise 18.3% of the population. The shares for black and Asian residents are 12.5% and 5.9%, respectively.[1] But these national numbers change dramatically when you look closer at the country’s 3,100-plus counties.
Here's the breakdown for San Diego County, for example:

As you look at these data, remember that diversity is partly in the eyes of the beholder. As I have discussed before, most Hispanics in the United States identify themselves racially as "white," so if we organized the data differently, we would come to different conclusions about the nature of diversity. Remember, too, that it took people of Irish and Italian origin, as two prominent examples of those who are now in the "non-Hispanic white" category, to become part of the ethnic mainstream--but it did happen. At the same time, each of these broad groups of race/ethnicity has a lot of diversity within its boundaries. An immigrant from Korea is unlikely to think of themselves as ''Asian" (instead of just Korean) until she arrives in the U.S., and immigrants from Chile have probably never heard the term "Hispanic" until they arrive in the U.S.

I admit that one the more interesting demographic facts that Bill Frey puts into the description of data is this:
Among the 100 largest metro areas, only 29 do not contain a highly represented racial minority. These are mostly located in the middle of the country; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Kansas City are the three largest, with Scranton, Pa. as the smallest. As a group, they are growing more slowly than those with a larger minority presence, but each one has become less white than was the case with the 2010 census.
I highlighted Scranton, because it was the home of Dunder-Mifflin paper company in the hit TV series "The Office." The cast in that program exhibited what we might call a minimal amount of demographic diversity. 

No comments:

Post a Comment