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Diversity has become an increasingly popular issue in media and politics. Crucial to views on immigration and a key issue behind the Black Lives Matter movement, diversity is not only an important social justice issue, but overwhelming evidence shows that diversity fosters a variety of benefits for workplaces, schools, and communities.
Research by McKinsey has shown that a diverse workforce can improve financial performance. Racially diverse schools and classrooms create cognitive, social, and emotional benefits. And living in a diverse community can positively impact an individual’s identity and how they interact with others.
As of 2017, non-Hispanic whites make up 61 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics/Latinos and blacks account for 18 percent and 12 percent respectively. Asians, American Indians, and other races comprise the remaining 9 percent of the population.
While non-Hispanic whites are still the majority today, this picture is changing as the U.S. is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Projections made by the U.S Census Bureau indicate that non-Hispanic whites will make up less than 50 percent of the population by 2045. This demographic milestone will occur even sooner for children under the age of 18, with whites estimated to comprise less than 50 percent of the young population by 2020.
At the same time that America is becoming more racially diverse, the immigrant share of the population is approaching historic highs. Immigrants in the U.S. now account for 13.7 percent of the population, up from a low of 4.7 percent in 1970 but still below the peak of 14.8 percent in 1890. While the U.S. has more total immigrants than any other country in the world, according to Pew Research, America’s foreign-born population as a percentage of total is still modest. For context, 22 percent of people in Canada and 28 percent of people in Australia are foreign born.
Mexico is the most common country of origin for immigrants to the U.S., followed by India and China. Combined, Latin American and Asian countries account for more than 80 percent of the U.S.’s foreign-born population.
Census Bureau projections also indicate that between 2020 and 2050, the population increase from immigration will outpace that from native births. As the baby boomer generation ages and the fertility rate continues to decline below what’s needed for the population to replace itself, immigration will become the biggest contributor to population growth in the coming years, creating an even more diverse population.
While the trend is clear at a national level, diversity varies widely by location. To find the most diverse cities and states in the U.S., researchers at HeyTutor analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. HeyTutor measured diversity by averaging two separate Simpson Diversity Indexes (one that measures the degree of racial/ethnic diversity and one measuring birthplace diversity). A Simpson Diversity Index can be interpreted as the probability that any resident chosen at random will belong to separate groups.