Diversity in America’s counties, in 5 maps


Whitest counties (including Hispanics). (Niraj Chokshi)

(View a larger version of the above animation.)

(Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the region in Virginia ranked among the 10 blackest. It is Petersburg city. This was was also updated at 4 p.m. to include a count of non-Hispanic whites.)

Starr County, Texas, near the state’s southern tip, is one of the nation’s whitest counties.

Texas only makes an appearance once in the list of the nation’s 10 whitest counties last year, according to new Census Bureau data released last week. Nebraska’s Keya Paha County, is technically the whitest, though with a population of 790, that is easier to come by there than in other places. Of the 15 whitest counties (a count that includes Hispanics), four have populations above 10,000: Starr, Ohio’s Holmes County, Virginia’s Dickenson County, and West Virginia’s Lincoln County. All counties in the top 15 were home to populations between 98.7 percent and 99.1 percent white.

More than half of the nation’s 3,143 counties are more than 90 percent white, when including Hispanics. (For a look at non-Hispanic whites, see the first section below.) The animation above shows the nation’s whitest counties at different cutoffs above 90 percent. To explore the data in greater detail, click on this Google map where whiter shading represents a population that is relatively more white. Here’s a look at how the nation’s counties look by other racial breakdowns:

(Note: We limited our racial breakdowns to individuals who reported only one race, in order to avoid double-counting those who reported multiple ones. In the vast majority of counties — 97 percent — fewer than 1 in 20 reported multiple races.)

Non-Hispanic whites account for at least 90 percent of the population in more than 1 in 3 counties


Whitest counties (non-Hispanic). (Niraj Chokshi)

(View a larger version of the above animation.

If you limit the count of whites only to those who don’t identify as Hispanic, 1,167 are at least 90 percent white.

The five large counties (with populations above 10,000) that are whitest are Lincoln County, West Virginia; Leslie County, Kentucky; Dickenson County, Virginia; Osage County, Missouri; and Lewis County, Kentucky. Each has a population that is just more than 98 percent non-Hispanic white. Four other counties have non-Hispanic white populations as high, though they are home to populations under 10,000.

Just 96 counties are majority black


(Niraj Chokshi)

(View larger image.)

Every single one of the 96 counties with a majority black population is located in the South. Nearly 6.75 million people live in such counties.

Just five counties are home to populations that are more than 80 percent black. The top three are Mississippi’s Jefferson, Claiborne, and Holmes counties. The next two are Alabama’s Macon and Greene counties. Among the 10 blackest counties, only one other state makes an appearance—Virginia, for Petersburg city.

An interactive version of this map is available here. (Darker shading represents a denser African American population.)

Just 93 counties are majority Hispanic


(Niraj Chokshi)

(View larger image.)

The seven counties with Hispanic populations above 90 percent are Texas’s Starr, Webb, Maverick, Zapata, Zavala, Jim Hogg, and Hidalgo counties. The Lone Star state accounts for 59 of the majority Hispanic counties. More than 16 million people live in majority Hispanic counties.

An interactive version of this map is available here. (Darker shading represents a denser Hispanic population.)

No county is majority Asian


(Niraj Chokshi)

(View larger image.)

No county in the nation was majority Asian, though 41 had Asian populations above 10 percent.

More than 2 in 5 people in Hawaii’s Honolulu County and Alaska’s Aleutians East Borough identified as Asian. California’s San Francisco and Santa Clara counties followed. Each was home to a population that is just over one-third Asian. (Hawaii is majority Asian, but only when counting individuals who identify as multiple races.)

An interactive version of this map is available here. (Darker shading represents a denser Asian population.)

27 counties are majority American Indian


(Niraj Chokshi)

(View larger image.)

Only two counties are more than 90 percent American Indian: South Dakota’s Shannon county and the Wade Hampton Census Area in Alaska. The 27 majority-American Indian counties are small, however, and are home to just about 333,000 people.

An interactive version of this map is available here. (Darker shading represents a denser American Indian population.)

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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