Bucking the Trend: Is Ethnoracial Diversity Declining in American Communities?

Barrett A. Lee, Lauren A. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Although increasing diversity at the national scale is a well-documented trend, substantial variation in patterns of ethnoracial change occurs across American communities. Our research considers one theoretically implied path: that some communities are ‘bucking the trend,’ becoming more homogeneous over time. Using 1980 through 2010 decennial census data, we calculate panethnic (five-group) entropy index scores to measure the magnitude of diversity for nearly 11,000 census-defined places. Our results indicate that while certain places reach their diversity peak in 1980 or 1990, they are few in number. Moreover, they experience a variety of post-peak trajectories other than monotonic diversity decline. Decreasing diversity is concentrated in the South and West, among places with higher levels of diversity and larger proportions of Hispanic or black residents at the beginning of the study period. These places exhibit complex shifts in racial–ethnic structure, but Hispanic succession predominates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-139
Number of pages27
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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