America is increasingly diverse, but challenges remain

Oct 02, 2013

America's communities are becoming increasingly diverse, but there are still important concerns about racial and ethnic integration in the future, according to researchers.

A new US2010 report shows whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians are increasingly sharing American communities, said Barry Lee, professor of sociology and demography, Penn State.

Lee, who co-wrote the report with John Iceland, professor of sociology and demography, Penn State, and Chad Farrell, associate professor of sociology, University of Alaska Anchorage, said that a universal trend toward greater diversity has been underway across metro and micro areas since 1980, fueled by Hispanic and Asian growth.

During the same period, a large majority of the areas exhibit declines in the of their black and white populations. The number of mixed neighborhoods—areas where no racial-ethnic group constitutes a majority of residents—has more than quadrupled in metro settings, from roughly 1,500 in 1980 to 6,300 in 2010.

"While these patterns make one optimistic about integration, there are other findings that complicate the story," said Lee.

He pointed out, for example, that micropolitan areas—nonmetro counties with an urban cluster of between 10,000 and 49,000 people—lag 30 years or more behind their metropolitan counterparts in average levels of ethnic and . Moreover, the segregation of metropolitan Hispanics and Asians has changed little during recent decades, especially for some of the largest or fastest-growing groups such as Mexicans and Asian Indians. Segregation remains substantial in magnitude among Dominican, Guatemalan, Cuban, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean metro dwellers as well.

Another finding uncovered by the research speaks to the fate of metropolitan neighborhoods with mixed—no-majority—racial-ethnic compositions in 1980 or 1990. In gateway areas defined by a large foreign-born population, only about one-fourth of these neighborhoods are still mixed as of 2010, most having become majority Hispanic. Far fewer such neighborhoods existed in areas dominated by natives—non-immigrants—two or three decades ago, and most now have a majority of African American residents.

"The fragility of mixed neighborhoods calls into question the potential for neighborhoods to match the diversity of the cities or metros where they are located, at least over the short term," said Lee.

The researchers used data from the last four censuses to examine the ethnic and racial diversity of metropolitan and micropolitan areas, the degree to which members of different groups live in the same neighborhoods within such areas and the persistence of mixed over time. These three aspects of integration are rarely analyzed together, according to the researchers.

Explore further: Power can corrupt even the honest

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Racial and ethnic diversity spreads across the country

Sep 07, 2012

Increasing racial and ethnic diversity has long been apparent at the national level and in our nation's largest metropolitan gateways. Since 1980 over nine-tenths of all cities, suburbs and small towns have become more diverse. ...

Asian neighborhoods: Separate but equal

Jun 26, 2013

Asians – recently found to be the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. – have been described as the least segregated minority group in the U.S. In fact, Chinese and Indians are segregated almost as highly as Hispanics, ...

Where Hispanics live in the US may change over time

Oct 17, 2008

A study of residential patterns in America suggests that White and Black Hispanics born in the U.S. are more likely to share neighborhoods with native non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans, compared to foreign-born Hispanics ...

Study: Residential segregation still a problem in US

May 31, 2012

Despite increasing numbers of multiethnic neighborhoods in the United States, relatively few black or white families are actually moving into these types of communities, according to a new study in the June issue of the American So ...

Recommended for you

Power can corrupt even the honest

9 hours ago

When appointing a new leader, selectors base their choice on several factors and typically look for leaders with desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness. However once leaders are in power, can we trust ...

Learning at 10 degrees north

10 hours ago

Secluded beaches, calypso music and the entertaining carnival are often what come to mind when thinking of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. But Dal Earth Sciences students might first consider Trinidad's ...

How to find the knowns and unknowns in any research

11 hours ago

Have you ever felt overloaded by information? Ever wondered how to make sense of claims and counter-claims about a topic? With so much information out there on many different issues, how is a person new to ...

Minorities energize US consumer market, according to report

11 hours ago

The buying power of minority groups in the U.S. has reached new heights and continues to outpace cumulative inflation, according to the latest Multicultural Economy Report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the ...

User comments : 0