Handbook of Community Movements and Local Organizations

Part of the series Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research pp 295-310

Sustaining Racially, Ethnically, and Economically Diverse Communities

  • Phil NydenAffiliated withLoyola University Chicago

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As the United States and other highly industrialized nations become increasingly diverse, a key question is whether they will be societies of diverse communities or contested lands of unequal and competing segregated communities. In 2000, the United States was 69.1 percent non-Hispanic white, 12.5 percent Hispanic, 12.1 percent non-Hispanic African American, 3.6 percent Asian, 0.7 percent Native American, and 1.8 percent non-Hispanic other or multiracial (Grieco and Cassidy, 2001, p. 10).1 The U.S. Bureau of the Census projects that by the year 2050 over half of the U.S. population will be “minority,” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004) calling into question the use of the term itself. Indeed, four states are already classified as “majority minority” states—states where no one racial or ethnic group represents a majority.2 The growth of diversity has been fueled by increased immigration from Latin America and Asia, as well as by the fact that many immigrant families are young families that contribute to natural population increases.