A cross post from my work blog:
The Bronx. Queens. Fort Bend? Texas now has some of the nation’s most diverse counties, according to an index created by USA Today to analyze U.S. Census data.
Nine Texas counties make the list of the 40 most diverse counties in the country, according to the analysis. Fort Bend County, outside of Houston, comes in fourth, trailing Bronx County and Queens County in New York, and Hudson County, New Jersey.
The index calculates the probability that two people chosen at random from a county would have different races or ethnic orgins, setting a 0 to 100 score. Texas’ overall score in 2010 was 46, according to the index, below the national score, which was 55. Both increased from 2000, with Texas’ up from 42, and the nation as a whole up from 49.
In layman’s terms, Texas’ score means there’s a 46 percent chance that two randomly chosen people would have different races or ethnicities. Keep in mind that the index measures overal diversity, so counties that are heavily white or Hispanic rank lower in their scores. (State indexes ranged from 81 in Hawaii to 11 in Vermont, according to USA TODAY.)
Even though Texas’ score is below the national figure, nine of its counties are in the top 40 out of 3,141 across the country. Leading the way is Fort Bend County, which has a large Asian population, and a score of 75.2. (Whites represent about 50 percent of the population there.) Other Texas counties high on the list were, in order, Waller, Jefferson, Bell, Potter, Travis and Matagorda.
These maps visualize the scores in all of Texas’ 254 counties, with lighter shades representing less diversity. First, 2010:
Diversity in 2000:
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau/USA TODAY | Data