March 8, 2016: Exploring Educational Diversity in New Jersey's Neighborhoods

In this post, we dive deeper to explore diversity in education attainment levels in New Jersey’s neighborhoods. This exercise will add context to the results seen in our last post and will help us begin to understand not only if counties are diverse, with respect to different educational attainment groups, but also if the same type of diversity is seen within a county’s neighborhoods. 

To do this, we first measured the diversity of educational attainment groups within each New Jersey neighborhood (census tract) using the Diversity Index. The Diversity Index for each neighborhood was calculated using the same process for counties that was discussed in our last post. We then calculated the average Diversity Index for all neighborhoods in each county. The resultant Average Neighborhood Diversity Index Score will tell us whether the average neighborhood within a county is home to a diverse mixture of adults from different educational attainment groups, or if it is more homogeneous in nature and dominated by one group or relatively few groups. The Average Neighborhood Diversity Index Score ranges from 0.00 to 75.00, with higher scores indicating more diversity and lower scores indicating more homogeneity.

Consistent with their Countywide Diversity Index Scores, Somerset and Morris Counties have the lowest Average Neighborhood Diversity Index Scores. These results are not surprising. Since overall these counties don’t feature a diverse mixture of adults from different educational attainment groups, we would not expect the average neighborhood in these counties to exhibit such diversity. In counties that are more diverse, such as Essex, Passaic, and Atlantic Counties, we would expect to see similar levels of diversity within their neighborhoods. This is not always the case, however. While Essex County’s Countywide Diversity Index Score ranked the highest (most diverse) out of all New Jersey counties, its Average Neighborhood Diversity Index Score of 65.41 is only good enough for 13th out of all 21 counties.

Interpreting the difference between a county’s two Diversity Index Scores, and how this relates to integration and segregation, will be the focus of our next post. For now, please use the two interactive maps below to explore the results of the analysis described above. Use the first map to explore the Average Neighborhood Diversity of New Jersey’s counties. The second map shows the Diversity Index of every New Jersey neighborhood. Use this map to explore which neighborhoods are home to many different educational attainment groups and which ones are homogenous. You can also see the breakdown of proportions of different groups within each neighborhood to understand which educational attainment group, if any, predominates. To explore neighborhoods of interest, you can click them on the map itself, or you can use the filters to search for a specific neighborhood by name of census tract or filter for all neighborhoods within a particular county or town. Happy exploring!


Author: John Manieri, AICP

Research, Analysis, and Technical Assistance: Steve Scott

Data Sources: 

U.S. Census Bureau, 2010-2014 5-year American Community Survey. Table S1501