Coffee Hour: Rainbow Communities? The Local Contours of Racial and Ethnic Diversity Since 1980

Friday, April 4, 2014 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
3:30 p.m. Refreshments are offered in the E. Willard Miller seminar room, 319 Walker Building 4:00 p.m. The lecture begins in the John J. Cahir Auditorium, 112 Walker Building

About the talk

One of the most significant demographic trends underway in the contemporary United States is the dramatic growth of racial and ethnic diversity. Within three decades, people of color—Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and multiracial individuals—are projected to exceed non-Hispanic Whites in number. The economic, political, and other consequences of this trend inspire vigorous debate at the national level and within immigrant gateways such as Los Angeles and New York. However, residents of many communities still experience diversity vicariously, rarely encountering members of other groups in their daily lives. My talk examines variations in diversity across metropolitan, micropolitan, and rural areas and their constituent places from 1980 through 2010. I consider whether the diversity trend is pervasive or uneven, what types of shifts have occurred in local racial-ethnic structure, which communities are most diverse (and why), and where the impact of diversity is likely to be greatest. The implications of Hispanic and Asian geographic redistribution for Americans’ exposure to ethnoracial diversity are also explored.     

Suggested reading

Integration or Fragmentation? Racial Diversity and the American Future

Is Ethnoracial Residential Integration on the Rise? Evidence from Metropolitan and Micropolitan America Since 1980 (PDF)

About the speaker

Barrett LeeBarrett Lee is professor of sociology and demography at Penn State. In addition to community racial and ethnic diversity, his current research focuses on segregation, neighborhood change, residential displacement, homelessness, and spatial aspects of wealth and affluence. Support for his work has been provided by NICHD, NSF, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Brookings Institution, among other sources. Lee is past chair of the community and urban sociology section of the American Sociological Association and has served on the editorial boards of several journals. His career at Penn State includes tours of duty as department head, graduate program director, and undergraduate officer.  

Questions for the speaker? (Angela Rogers)