Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016 | 2 a.m.
Racial diversity within Las Vegas neighborhoods ranks among the best in the country, according to a recent analysis of census data released by the Brookings Institution.
The Brookings report, “White neighborhoods get modestly more diverse, new census data show,” indicates that among major metropolitan areas, the Las Vegas area scores No. 1 among large metropolitan areas in a metric that evaluates whether whites and racial minorities live together in diverse neighborhoods. The statistical area’s score of 40 means that 40 percent of black and Hispanic people would have to change neighborhoods to be distributed equally with whites.
Raleigh, N.C., scored second-lowest of areas studied with a score of 42, while the Milwaukee metropolitan area scored highest at 81 and the New York-Newark-Jersey City area followed with a score of 77.
“As with other metro areas with sub-50 segregation scores, Las Vegas experienced marked gains in its black and other minority populations over the years, opening the door for development of new housing tracts since older, segregated neighborhoods were already established,” wrote William H. Frey, Brookings senior fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program, in his analysis.
A score of 70 is considered significantly segregated.
Just more than 2 million people live in Southern Nevada, according to 2014 estimates from the American Community Survey, the source of the data used in the analysis.
The racial makeup of Clark County’s population continues to become more diverse. U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 2015 show that the county’s Hispanic population totals 30.6 percent, up 1.5 percent from the 2010 count. Similar percentage gains can be seen in the black (11.8 percent total) and Asian (10.1 percent) communities, while white population fell from 48 percent in 2010 to 44.5 percent last year.
That growth in racial minority population likely fueled the neighborhood integration noticed in Southern Nevada.
“In a handful of areas, including Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., minority population growth was extraordinarily large. In these metro areas, ‘white’ neighborhoods became markedly more diverse between 2000 and 2011–2015,” Frey wrote.
Yet overall, Frey’s analysis shows that white people tend to live clustered. The average white resident’s neighborhood is 72 percent white, down 7 percent from 2000 but still well ahead of population figures showing 56 percent of people in large metropolitan areas identified as white from 2011-2015. That figure fell from 64 percent in 2000.
The analysis also reveals that since 2000, racial minorities accounted for 95 percent of American population growth and 98 percent of growth in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.
The Clark County School District, the nation’s fifth-largest, reflects the increasing diversity of the region in its most recent accountability report. Of more than 319,000 CCSD students, more than 146,000 (45.8 percent) are Hispanic. More than 84,000 (26.3 percent) of CCSD students are white, while more than 42,000 (13.3 percent) are black and more than 25,000 (7.9 percent) are Asian or Pacific Islander.