While many critics of the Black Lives Matter movement like to argue that racism and segregation are a thing of the past, a new study by the Brown University’s American Communities Project shows that most of the cities perceived as ethnically “diverse” are usually the most segregated.
The first measure is the citywide diversity index. It’s defined as the answer to this question: For an average resident in the city, what percent of the people belong to a different racial group?
The lowest possible citywide diversity index is 0 percent, which is what you get if everyone is the same race. The highest possible one is 80 percent. Why not 100 percent? Because the Brown data only includes five racial groups. Even if the population is divided exactly evenly between these groups, you’ll still have 20 percent of the people belong to the same race as you.
A few cities actually get pretty close to this ideal of complete diversity. Oakland, California, is not far from being evenly divided between whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians; its citywide diversity index is 75 percent. New York’s is 73 percent. And Chicago’s is 70 percent.
At the low end of the scale are extremely white cities like Lincoln and Scottsdale, Arizona. There’s also extremely black cities like Detroit, and extremely Hispanic cities like Laredo, Texas. Laredo, which is almost entirely Hispanic, has a citywide diversity index of just 8 percent.
There’s something else important here. The term “diverse” is sometimes used colloquially as a euphemism for “nonwhite.” But our statistics don’t handle whites differently than the other racial groups. One advantage of this approach is that it can account for the degree of segregation between different nonwhite groups. While blacks and Hispanics are highly segregated from one another in Chicago, for example, they’re reasonably well integrated in Phoenix.
Read the entire study HERE.