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Jed Kolko

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Finding Diversity in America

Posted: 11/26/2012 11:56 am

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday during the Civil War, in an attempt to restore peace and unity to the United States. In today's diverse America, Thanksgiving remains widely celebrated and crosses religious, racial, and ethnic lines (though some Native Americans consider Thanksgiving a Day of Mourning), with Americans from different regions of the U.S. and different countries around the globe bringing their own traditions to the Thanksgiving table.

This Thanksgiving, we wanted to see which neighborhoods best reflect American diversity. To do so, we identified the country's most diverse neighborhoods and metros using census data on race and ethnicity. We measured diversity as the share of a metro area's or ZIP code's population in its largest racial or ethnic group: the smaller the share of the largest group, the more diverse the neighborhood is. For instance, an area that is 70 percent White (the largest group), 20 percent Black, and 10 percent Asian is less diverse than one that is 60 percent Hispanic (the largest group), 30 percent White, and 10 percent Black. In this example, the second neighborhood is more diverse because the largest group accounts for 60 percent of the population versus 70 percent in the first neighborhood (see note about Census racial and ethnic definitions at end of post).

America's Most Diverse Metros
Among the 100 largest metros, San Jose is the most diverse. San Jose is 35 percent White (the largest group), 31 percent Asian, 28 percent Hispanic, 3 percent two-or-more races, and 2 percent Black. In no other metro does the largest group have a share smaller than 35 percent. New York ranks second, with a population that is 39 percent White, 28 percent Hispanic, 19 percent Black, and 12 percent Asian. Four of the 10 most diverse large metros in the U.S. are in California: San Jose, Oakland, Orange County, and San Francisco. Only one -- New York -- is in the Northeast, and not one is in the Midwest.

America's Most Diverse Metros

#

U.S. Metro % population in largest group

1

San Jose, CA

35%

2

New York, NY-NJ

39%

3

Oakland, CA

40%

4

Houston, TX

40%

5

Honolulu, HI

43%

6

Fort Lauderdale, FL

44%

7

Orange County, CA

44%

8

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

46%

9

San Francisco, CA

46%

10

Albuquerque, NM

47%

A lower percentage of population in the largest group means greater diversity. Among 100 largest metros.


The map below shows the diversity index for counties across America. Diversity is highest in California and Hawaii, as well as much of the South. The least-diverse parts of the country (i.e., those with the highest share in the largest group), in contrast, are in New England and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.  Among the 100 largest metros, Pittsburgh is the least diverse: it is 87 percent White, 8 percent Black, 2 percent Asian, and 1 percent Hispanic. El Paso also stands out as America's least-diverse large metro that is not majority-White: El Paso is 82 percent Hispanic, 13 percent White, and 3 percent Black. Hispanics are the majority in Fresno, San Antonio, and Miami as well. In none of the 100 largest metros are Blacks or Asians a majority. The metro with the highest percentage of Blacks is Memphis, at 45 percent, and the metro with the highest percentage of Asians is Honolulu, at 43 percent.

Trulia Where to find Diversity in America Map

America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods
The diversity people experience day-to-day, though, depends on how diverse their neighborhood is. If members of a racial or ethnic group tend to live near each other in specific neighborhoods, even diverse metros could have mostly segregated neighborhoods. So let's turn to diversity within neighborhoods, which we define as ZIP codes.

The most diverse neighborhood in America is the ZIP code 75038. Located just east of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, this ZIP code includes the neighborhoods of Broadmoor Hills and Song in Irving, TX. That ZIP code is 26 percent Asian, 25 percent Black, 23 percent Hispanic, and 23 percent White. The next-most diverse neighborhoods are Queens Village (11428) in the borough of Queens, New York, and San Francisco's Treasure Island (94130).

America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods

# ZIP code Neighborhood U.S. Metro % population in largest group

1

75038 Irving (Broadmoor Hills / Song) Dallas, TX

25.7%

2

11428 Queens Village New York, NY-NJ

26.4%

3

94130 Treasure Island San Francisco, CA

27.2%

4

77407 Lakemont Houston, TX

27.9%

5

96786 Wahiawa Honolulu, HI

28.5%

6

96731 Kahuku Honolulu, HI

28.7%

7

98178 Rainier View Seattle, WA

28.8%

8

02125 Dorchester Boston, MA

29.1%

9

96707 Kapolei Honolulu, HI

29.2%

10

95834 South Natomas Sacramento, CA

29.2%

A lower percentage of population in the largest group means greater diversity. Among 100 largest metros.


What do these neighborhoods have in common? Although many, like Queens Village and Dorchester, are within the city limits, they are not the densest, most central, or best-known neighborhoods. None of the top-10 most diverse neighborhoods in the country is a familiar name to out-of-towners. Also, some of the most diverse neighborhoods in America are located in metro areas that aren't especially diverse overall, like Seattle (67 percent White) and Boston (69 percent White).

Expensive neighborhoods aren't very diverse.  As Blacks and Hispanics have lower incomes, on average, than Whites, the neighborhoods with the most expensive housing tend to be largely White: New York's West Village 10014) is 83 percent White, as is Beverly Hills 90210). But so-called "hipster" neighborhoods are somewhat more mixed: Brooklyn's Williamsburg is 65 percent White and 26 percent Hispanic; Chicago's Wicker Park (60622) is 58 percent White, 29 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent Black; San Francisco's Mission District (94110) is 42 percent White, 38 percent Hispanic, and 12 percent Asian; and Los Angeles' Silver Lake (90026) is 57 percent Hispanic, 21 percent White, and 17 percent Asian.

Finally, while many non-diverse neighborhoods are almost exclusively White, non-White doesn't necessary mean diverse. Chicago's Englewood (60621) and two of Washington DC's Anacostia neighborhoods (20019 and 20020) are at least 95 percent Black; Boyle Heights (90023) in Los Angeles and Miami's Hialeah (33012) are at least 95 percent Hispanic; and Monterey Park (91755) in Los Angeles and Flushing (11355) in Queens are both at least 70 percent Asian.

Here are the most diverse neighborhoods in the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington metro areas. [See Appendix Below]

Housing Markets in Diverse Neighborhoods
Do Americans want to live in diverse neighborhoods -- or are they avoiding them?

We looked at changes in both occupied households (based on U.S. Postal Service data, just as in our recent post showing suburbs growing faster than urban areas) and home prices (based on homes for sale on Trulia) in the past year, comparing diverse neighborhoods, defined as those where no racial or ethnic group accounts for more than 50 percent of the population, and other neighborhoods. The more diverse neighborhoods have both higher population growth and stronger price growth in the past year -- and they're a bit more expensive to begin with:

% change in households, Oct 2011 - Oct 2012

% change in median price per sqft, Oct 2011 - Oct 2012

Median price per sqft

Diverse neighborhoods

0.61%

1.9%

$157

Other neighborhoods

0.49%

1.2%

$142

Among 100 largest metros. Within these metros, 17% of the population lives in diverse neighborhoods, and the rest in other neighborhoods.


Americans, therefore, are moving toward diverse neighborhoods. However, growth in those neighborhoods could affect their diversity: if prices in diverse neighborhoods rise, lower-income residents may get priced out over time. Because the two largest minority racial/ethnic groups -- Blacks and Hispanics -- have lower incomes, on average, than Whites, rising prices could reduce diversity in those markets. When the next Census rolls around in 2020, the list of most-diverse neighborhoods in the US could look very different.

Technical note: the 2010 Census asked two questions about race and ethnicity: one about Hispanic or Latino origin, and one about race. The official Census race categories are White; Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and Some Other Race. People can select more than one race. People of Hispanic or Latino origin can identify as any race.

We follow the convention of many demographic researchers and create racial/ethnic categories that do not overlap. "Hispanic and Latino" and "two or more races" are both considered separate categories. Using this approach, the U.S. population is 63.7 percent White, 16.3 percent Hispanic or Latino, 12.2 percent Black or African American, 4.7 percent Asian, 0.7 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.2 percent Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 0.2 percent some other race, and 1.9 percent two or more races, for a total of 100 percent.

In this post, for simplicity, we refer to each racial or ethnic category by the first name or phrase used by the Census: White, Hispanic, Black, Asian, and so on.

See this report for more on how the Census asks about and reports on race and ethnicity.

 

Appendix: the most diverse neighborhoods in five major metros

Trulia's Diversity for New York Metro Area Map

New York metro area
# ZIP code Neighborhood % of population in largest group
1

11428

Queens Village (Queens)

26.4%

2

11420

South Ozone Park (Queens)

30.7%

3

07631

Englewood (New Jersey)

31.2%

4

10523

Elmsford (Westchester)

31.2%

5

06606

Bridgeport's North End (Connecticut)

31.7%

A lower percentage of population in the largest group means greater diversity.


 Los Angeles metro area
# ZIP code Neighborhood % of population in largest group
1

90014

Downtown LA, near 7th & Main

30.8%

2

90755

Signal Hill, Long Beach

31.3%

3

90013

Downtown LA, along 4th & 5th

31.7%

4

92833

Fullerton, Orange County

34.2%

5

90620

Buena Park, Orange County

35.2%

A lower percentage of population in the largest group means greater diversity.


Chicago metro area
# ZIP code Neighborhood % of population in largest group
1

60163

Berkeley (west suburbs)

32.3%

2

60433

Joliet (southwest suburbs)

34.6%

3

60133

Hanover Park (west suburbs)

38.2%

4

60659

West Rogers Park

38.4%

5

60633

Burnham / Hegewisch

38.9%

A lower percentage of population in the largest group means greater diversity.


San Francisco Bay Area
# ZIP code Neighborhood % of population in largest group
1

94130

Treasure Island (San Francisco)

27.2%

2

94531

Antioch (East Bay)

29.3%

3

94577

San Leandro (East Bay)

29.3%

4

94619

Redwood Heights (Oakland)

29.9%

5

94612

Lakeside (Oakland)

29.9%

A lower percentage of population in the largest group means greater diversity.
















































Washington DC metro area
# ZIP code Neighborhood % of population in largest group
1

22191


Woodbridge (Virginia)

31.2%


2

20906


Aspen Hill (Maryland)

32.0%


3

22306


Alexandria (Virginia)

32.6%


4

20010


Columbia Heights (DC)

32.6%


5

22312


Alexandria (Virginia)

33.2%


A lower percentage of population in the largest group means greater diversity.

 

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