Welcome to the United States of Diversity

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by Mike Keeler

OK, kids!  Time for a geography pop quiz:  where in the world are the following cities, and what do they have in common?

1. An African city, brutally poor, home to 700,000 people, the vast majority of whom are Black;  2. A Latin-American city known for fashion and culture, 2.5MM people, two-thirds of whom are Hispanic;  3. An Asian city on the Pacific Rim, extremely cosmopolitan, 1MM people, evenly mixed between Asians and non-Asians; 4. A small European city, just 300,000 people, overwhelmingly White.

Give up?  Here’s a hint.  What these vastly different cities have in common is that they are all in the United States.  Does that help?  The cities are 1. Detroit; 2. Miami, 3. San Francisco and 4. Minneapolis.

The 2010 Census has just been published.  And if he could read the results, Norman Rockwell wouldn’t recognize this eclectic place:

– We’ve grown 10% in the last 10 years, to about 309MM people

– Across the country, 72% of the population is White, 16% is Hispanic, 12% is Black and about 5% is Asian.  That’s huge news: Hispanics are now the largest minority group across the country and in more than half of all metro centers.  Not just in Texas and California, all over.

– Meanwhile, the Black percentage is falling in major cities like New York, Cleveland and St. Louis.  Some African-American leaders are worried that their constituents did not fully participate in filling out the Census (despite a massive marketing campaign aimed at them) and now will receive less than their fair share of federal funds.

– There are many other groups, (3MM Native Americans, a half million Pacific Islanders…) and fully 6% of the country considers itself “Other”.

– Our two most noteworthy cities are complete hodgepodges. In New York City, 72% of Staten Island is White versus only 27% in the Bronx.  Los Angeles is only 8% Black, but in East LA, that number is 50%.

– Cedar Rapids is 85% White

You can play along!  The data is available online in a sortable, searchable format.  Just in time to give you hours of springtime-Friday-on-the-job-time-wasting pleasure!  Go ahead, but beware, it’s addictive.

Welcome to the United States of Diversity:  http://factfinder2.census.gov/main.html.