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Race and beyond: The surprises of a changing nation

I have been challenged lately to think in surprising ways about the nature of our country’s shifting diversity. Despite spending nearly all my working hours buried in studies and analyses of the racial and ethnic demographic trends sweeping the nation, I’m not a know-it-all on the subject. Still, it takes quite a jolt for a list of facts or figures to stun me.
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Jul 6, 2014, 7:58 pm
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“Niraj Chokshi, a blogger who covers state and local politics for The Washington Post’s GovBeat, created the interactive. He didn’t attempt to analyze the data, instead allowing the numbers to speak for themselves.”

Sadly, neither did the writer attempt to analyze the data.

First of all, representing Hispanics as “white” ... who would do that? Certainly not the vast majority of Hispanics. If Florida and Texas were as “white” as this “data” pretends, the Republican Party would be sitting pretty.

Then, analysis by county neglects to consider a different bifurcation in America: that between urban and rural/suburban populations. The 37 metropolitan areas of the United States with a population over one million are home to roughly 115 million Americans, few of whom (except perhaps in New York City’s Chinatown!) live “in communities that are highly segregated by race, ethnicity, and wealth” (of course it depends how you define community, but this data defines it as “county”). And nearly all the cities have positive population growth rates, and a handful are growing at over eight percent annually (Austin, Texas is growing at over 12 percent).

A final point: though the writer accepts – to his rhetorical advantage – the definition of Hispanic as “white” at the outset of this opinion piece, in his conclusion, he flipflops, writing: “First, the nation’s white, non-Hispanic population will decrease by 19 million people over the next five decades. Second, the Hispanic population will grow by 75 million people.”

Although there are undoubtedly interesting conclusions to be drawn from analysis of the racial composition of America’s communities, this writer hasn’t delivered.

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