November 2015: New Jersey’s Diversity Paradox: Why Diversity and Integration Aren’t Quite the Same Thing

Ever heard the tidbit about New Jersey being the most racially and ethnically diverse state in the nation?i This observation is commonly thrown around in New Jersey, generally as an unquestionable fact. But how diverse, actually, is New Jersey? In this series of posts, we will explore this question, particularly examining the diversity of northern New Jersey and the immediate Newark region, since it is typically touted as the most diverse region in the state.

iAmerican Conference on Diversity, Initiative for Regional and Community Transformation, Leadership New Jersey, & New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute. New Jersey: A Statewide View of Diversity. September 20, 2007.

 

Map of the Week: 

November 16, 2015 - December 1, 2015

New Jersey's Diversity Paradox: 

Why Diversity and Integration Aren't Quite the Same Thing


Post 1.1: November 16, 2015:

How diverse, actually, is New Jersey and the Newark, NJ region?

Ever heard the tidbit about New Jersey being the most racially and ethnically diverse state in the nation?[i] This observation is commonly thrown around in New Jersey, generally as an unquestionable fact. But how diverse, actually, is New Jersey? We wanted to explore this question and particularly examine the diversity of northern New Jersey and the immediate Newark region, since it is typically touted as the most diverse region in the state.

Read more to find out how diverse New Jersey's counties are, and how your county fares...


Post 1.2: November 24, 2015:

How diverse are neighborhoods within New Jersey Counties?

In this post, we will explore the concept of neighborhood diversity, or the distribution of racial and ethnic groups across neighborhoods within counties. Even though counties can be extremely diverse, neighborhoods within each county are often times more homogenous.

To measure diversity of neighborhoods within counties, we are using the same approach we used to calculate Diversity Indexes of counties, only here we are calculating the Diversity Indexes of neighborhoods. We then took the average of the Diversity Index of all a county’s neighborhoods to arrive with an Average Neighborhood Diversity Index Score for each county. This index will help us understand the diversity of the average neighborhood within each county.

By our calculations, Hudson County’s neighborhoods are the most diverse in the state, with an Average Neighborhood Diversity Index Score of 49.29. Even though it has the second-highest Countywide Diversity Index Score in the state, Essex County’s Average Neighborhood Diversity Index Score of 37.78 means, on average, its neighborhoods are much less diverse than neighborhoods in Hudson County. In fact, Essex County only ranks 10th out of 21 counties, in terms of average neighborhood diversity.

Remembering that the Diversity Index represents the probability that two randomly chosen individuals from the same area will be from different racial/ethnic groups, we can interpret these results to mean there is nearly a one-in-two (50 percent) chance that two randomly chosen individuals from the average Hudson County neighborhood will be from different racial or ethnic groups while there is only a 38 percent chance of this happening in the average Essex County neighborhood. This also means it is 30 percent more likely in Hudson County than in Essex County that two randomly chosen individuals from the average neighborhood will be from two different groups. That is a difference that is hard to overlook.

Continue reading to explore the diversity in neighborhoods within each county and see how neighborhoods within your county fare…

 


Post 1.3: December 1, 2015:

How Integrated or Segregated are New Jersey's Counties?

In this post, we will explore the concept of racial and ethnic integration and segregation within New Jersey's counties.
 
For purposes of this discussion, a county is considered to be segregated when its neighborhoods are, on average, less diverse than the county is overall. Counties in which neighborhoods are nearly as diverse as the county are considered to be integrated. Homogeneous neighborhoods, or "pockets" of  individual racial or ethnic groups are more likely to persist throughout segregated counties, limiting exposure to and interaction with different groups. In integrated counties, racial and ethnic groups are more likely to be evenly spread throughout the county.
 
To help us understand how well-integrated or segregated a particular county is compared to other counties in the state, we created one final metric-the Integration/Segregation Index.
 
The Integration/Segregation Index, or I/S index, uses the difference between a county's Countywide Diversity Index Score andAverage Neighborhood Diversity Index Score to compare a particular county the average of all counties in the state. This will tell us how integrated or segregated a particular county is, compared to the average New Jersey county.
 
Counties with large positive I/S Index Scores are considered to be more integrated than the average New Jersey county. Neighborhoods in these counties are nearly as diverse as their county is overall. Counties with large negative I/S Index Scores are considered to be more segregated than the average New Jersey county. Neighborhoods in these counties are much less diverse than their county is overall.
 
By our calculations, Essex County is the most segregated county in the state. Its I/S Index Score of -8.97 means that Essex County is nearly nine times more segregated than the average county in the state. Somerset County is the most integrated county in the state. Its I/S Index Score of +5.11 means it is five times more integrated than the average county in the state.
 
Continue reading this post to learn more about how we calculated Integration/Segregation Index, and how integrated or segregated each county is...
 
Visit our Neighborhood Diversity Explorer to explore the diversity of every neighborhood in New Jersey...