Houston Region Is Now the Most Diverse in the U.S.

Jeannie Kever, Chron, March 5, 2012

The Houston metropolitan area is now the most ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the country, with two suburbs—Pearland and Missouri City—leading the region in diversity.

The findings come from a new report from Rice University based on an analysis of census data from 1990, 2000 and 2010.

Report co-author Michael Emerson, a sociologist and co-director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice, attributed the growth in diversity to a 1965 shift in immigration laws, which changed the way visas were granted.

Before that change, immigration was dominated by people from Europe. Once the United States began granting equal numbers of visas to every country, immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa became dominant.

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The report produced by the Kinder Institute and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas also found:

The city of Houston remained more segregated than other areas of the metropolitan area.

Segregation among African-Americans and Latinos has declined the most rapidly.

According to the analysis, the percentage of metropolitan area residents who are Anglo dropped to 40 percent by 2010, down from almost 58 percent in 1990.

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