America’s cities are becoming more diverse, new analysis shows cities
Corry Joe Biddle knows the best empires to travel to the south side of Milwaukee and the northern part of the city when he craves soul food. She dine at Indian, Ethiopian and Cuban restaurants within a span of a week and sometimes took a streetcar ride along her 2.1-mile path through the city to see her hometown from different perspectives.
Biddle, executive director, community engagement and vice president of talent development, says, “The sweets I’ve tasted, the people I’ve met and the feathers and clothes I’ve touched — there are so many different types of people here. ” Member of the Diversity Committee in the City Chamber of Commerce.
“Wherever you go in Milwaukee, there is an opportunity to meet someone different from you.”
And that opportunity has only grown over the past decade in Milwaukee and many other US cities.
About 70% of the nation’s largest cities are racially more diverse as of 2010, according to a U.S. News analysis of the most recently released population estimate data from the U.S. Census Bureau—a trend that experts expect to continue. .
“America is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, and those patterns are being extended to cities,” says demographer Mark Mather of the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau.
US News used a diversity index developed in 1991 by Philip Meyer of the University of North Carolina and Sean McIntosh of USA Today to calculate diversity scores for US cities with populations of 300,000 or more. The USA TODAY Diversity Index measures whether two people chosen at random using share of six racial and ethnic groups – White, Black, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, are different from each other. What is the probability of and Hispanic – account for the total population. By federal standards, people of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race, but this overlap between groups is captured in the analysis.
US News calculated the Cities Diversity Index for 2018 using population estimates from the American Community Survey and data from the decadal census for 2010. Cities were defined by their legal, corporate boundaries for consistency.
Mapping diversity: a visual look at US news data from Esri, a location intelligence company.
increase in urban diversity
Nearly 70% of the 66 cities with a population of 300,000 or more in 2018 – 46 cities had higher Diversity Index scores in 2018 compared to 2010.
Some of the biggest diversity gains occurred in cities that started with the lowest diversity scores, including Colorado Springs, Colorado, which was 83% white in 2010, and Detroit, which was 85% black that year.
Detroit saw the greatest gains in diversity due to the growing white population. Between 2010 and 2018, the odds of two randomly selected people being different from each other in the Motor City increased by 21%.
Two Ohio cities — Cleveland and Columbus — also top the list of greatest increases in diversity. Along with Detroit and several other Midwest cities, both saw significant gains in their Asian populations. Between 2010 and 2018, Asian populations in several Midwestern cities grew at more than twice the average pace of larger cities, including 87% in Indianapolis, 74% in Columbus, and 57% in Cleveland.
In 2010, Biddle’s hometown of Milwaukee was one of only five large US cities in which no racial or ethnic group accounted for more than 50% of the population, a number that doubled by 2018 with new additions including San Francisco, New York. Has been. and Washington.
Traditional immigrant gateways on both coasts, including New York and Los Angeles, rank among the top 10 most diverse large cities. California cities consistently rank as the most diverse in the country, with Stockton, Oakland and Sacramento taking the top three spots in 2018.
How urban demographics are changing
According to experts, the population of a place can change in three general ways: new international migration, domestic movement between places, and natural change through birth and death. While international migration makes headlines on the political stage, experts agree that natural change is the most prominent factor, especially in cities.
But in many ways the factors are intertwined.
For example, the number of immigrants from Europe has declined in recent decades, while immigration from Asia and Latin America has increased rapidly, contributing to a lesser extent to the growing share of Hispanics – and Asians – in the younger generation. , say experts. Cities tend to have a younger age structure, with births generally exceeding deaths, which Mather calls “population speed”.
“There has been a rapid increase in diversity among young people and children. That’s what’s really driving this increase in racial ethnic diversity in the big cities,” he says.
Collectively, the 66 largest cities received nearly 4 million people between 2010 and 2018, an increase of about 8% overall. Over the same time period, the Asian population in those cities grew by 20% and the Hispanic population by 12%.
The black population in cities grew at a much slower pace – just 2% between 2010 and 2018.
Some western cities, including Mesa, Arizona, saw a significant increase in their black population by 66%. But 18 cities — many in the Midwest, including Cleveland, St. Louis and Chicago — lost more black residents than they gained.
According to William Frey, a leading demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, cities in the Midwest as well as the Northeast are losing black residents to the suburbs, enough that the “black suburbanization movement” can be considered a national trend.
The aging baby boomer generation, which is about three-quarters white, is also moving away from cities, Frey says, a major trend that lends itself to increased diversity in cities.
“America’s white population is aging and slowly increasing,” he says. “They are taking a smaller part of the population into cities, moving to cities or going at all.”
The number of white residents in the 66 largest cities increased by about 12% between 2010 and 2018. (US News’ analysis included Hispanic whites in this category; the number of non-Hispanic whites grew much more slowly, with only 3.5%, according to census figures.) Still, more than half of those cities In the U.S., white residents accounted for a smaller share of total residents in 2010 than total residents.
In fact, 65% of cities that became more diverse between 2010 and 2018 saw a decline in the share of whites in their population. Honolulu, for example, lost about 4% of its white population and ranks sixth for increased diversity.
But the share of white residents increased in 85% of cities with less diversity. The white population grew the most in Dallas – 38% between 2010 and 2018 – contributing to its location among the 10 cities that saw the greatest reduction in diversity over the same time period.
Variation, but not displacement
With racial minorities accounting for nearly half a millennium, experts say cities capable of offering the jobs and affordability of a younger generation can expect to attract a more racially diverse population than previously thought.
But as urban cores become more diverse, it is important that local leaders take measures to ensure that these opportunities are available to city residents of all races and ethnicities, experts say.
It begins with prioritizing progressive demographic change rather than the foundation and turnover of affordable housing in stable neighborhoods, says Tim Thomas, an urban sociologist and University of Washington fellow.
“Diversity is good, but displacement is not,” he says. “For this to be a good thing, we need a lot of progressive policy that gives all people the ability to compete on an equal footing.”
Biddle agrees. She considered moving to Atlanta, where she thought there might be more opportunities for a woman of color, but stayed in Milwaukee because she needed a “great internship that turned into a great job” and now wants to create more opportunities for the city like her. works for. young people.
“White, black, brown, yellow — Millennials and Gen Zs are really expecting that diversity in their city,” she says. “Any good city can attract top talent, but they won’t stay until that integration happens.”
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