Racial Diversity

Racial diversity is a contentious topic, often sparking debate among political parties. In July, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan came under fire for his selfie depicting a seemingly homogenous group of congressional interns. The photo launched the trending tag #InternsSoWhite. This prompted a response from Rep. E.B. Johnson, who posted this photo of her intern snapping a selfie with other Democratic interns. The photo depicts a much more racially diverse group.

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld affirmative action in a case challenging the use of the policy by University of Texas, Austin. The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, had previously accused the university of denying her admission based on her race. The case earned Fisher the trending tag #BeckyWithTheBadGrades.

FindTheHome, a real estate intelligence site powered by Graphiq, was able to use existing regional data in order to analyze and draw insights about racial diversity in regions of the U.S. To do this, they implemented a measure of diversity called the Gini-Simpson Index. The index calculates the probability that two individuals taken at random from the population considered will belong to different census-specific racial groups.

As with any method, there are certain limitations to this measurement. The Gini-Simpson Index simply accounts for the probability that two randomly selected individuals will be of different races, and does not give insight into the exact racial composition of a given region. The index also only accounts for census-designated racial groups: White American, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian — and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders. Hispanic or Latino Americans are considered by the census to be an ethnic group, so are not included in this diversity index.

Racial Diversity in the U.S.

With the aid of this index, FindTheHome was able to calculate racial diversity for every county and visualize the results in an interactive map displaying the dynamic make-up of our country. The darker the blue, the higher the value and the more diverse a region is.

Counties that include major cities generally have a high diversity index. For example, Los Angeles County, which houses L.A., has an index of 64.83 percent. Queens County of New York City has an index of 72.01 percent and Cook County — which houses Chicago — has an index of 60.29 percent, much higher than the other counties in Illinois. Major cities are often more racially diverse because of their population size, as well as large number of immigrants.

Alaska, Hawaii and the southern half of the U.S. also seem to be the most racially diverse with the exception of southern Texas. Regions of the Midwest and the Northeast appear to be the least racially diverse.

The five most diverse counties:

1) Aleutians East Borough, AK: 75.91 percent
2) Aleutians West Census Area, AK: 74.50 percent
3) Hawaii County, HI: 74.19 percent
4) Maui County, HI: 72.72 percent
5) Yakutat City and Borough, AK: 72.02 percent

The five least diverse counties:

1) Highland County, VA: 0.36 percent
2) Carter County, MT: 0.66 percent
3) Nicholas County, KY: 0.84 percent
4) Steele County, ND: 1.10 percent
5) Nance County, NE: 1.20 percent

Highest Racial Diversity State

The state with the highest overall racial diversity per county is Hawaii. The highest racially diverse county in Hawaii is Hawaii County, with a diversity index of 74.19 percent. Hawaii is the only state where there is no racial majority.

Lowest Racial Diversity State

The state with the lowest overall racial diversity per county is West Virginia. The lowest racially diverse county in West Virginia is Clay County, with a diversity index of 1.83 percent. According to the U.S. Census, 92.3 percent of the population is white.

Research More Regional Data on FindTheHome