Washington Region’s Diversity Exemplifies National Trend

OregonLive, September 7, 2012

The Lorton where Chrisdiona Clarke grew up in the 1970s and 1980s bears almost no resemblance to the Lorton where she lives today.

The Fairfax County community, just off Interstate 95, was rural then and—except for the population of a nearby penitentiary—largely white. Clarke remembers awakening to the sound of sirens signaling a prison break. She and her brother, the children of a white mother and a black father, were the only African Americans in their classes at school.

Today, the fields around the prison, which closed in 2001, are filled with upscale houses and apartment buildings. {snip}

Non-whites no longer stick out in a crowd. Lorton is one of the most diverse places in the entire country, according to a new study of census data by two sociologists from Pennsylvania State University. The 19,000 residents are roughly a third white and a third black, and there are significant numbers of Asians, Hispanics and multiracial residents.


What’s happened in Lorton is typical of a demographic sea change that is transforming the Washington area and much of the country. Non-Hispanic whites are a minority in a growing number of metropolitan areas, including Washington. Predominantly white neighborhoods are a relic of the past. New developments that appeal to young families are among the most diverse, drawing Hispanics and Asians who, on average, are much younger than the whites.

Although metropolitan areas are the most diverse, small towns and the countryside are also attracting more minorities. The Penn State researchers found that whites are the predominant group in barely one-third of all places of 1,000 residents or more, compared with two-thirds in 1980.

“Racial and ethnic diversity is no longer a vicarious experience for Americans,” said Barrett A. Lee, one of the study’s authors. “It used to be something that was recognized and debated at the national level. But now even residents of small towns and rural areas are coming face to face with people of different races or ethnicity in their daily lives, not just on the evening news.”

The Washington area stands out for its broad demographic mix. The Penn State researchers ranked the top 25 most-diverse metropolitan areas, and only three metro areas—all in California—had greater diversity than Washington.


One reason behind Washington’s diversity is that it is what the Penn State study called a “company town,” this one where the government and the military have a large presence.


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  • Enar_Larsson

    —“Racial and ethnic diversity is no longer a vicarious experience for
    Americans,” said Barrett A. Lee, one of the study’s authors.—

    And neither are bed bugs, whooping cough, malaria, flash mobs, car theft, burglary, home invasion, pedestrians wandering through busy intersections, HIV, pervasive litter, rampant alcoholism, knockout games, gangs, school drop-out rates above fifty percent, vacuous hate
    crime charges, voter fraud, DOJ investigations, rape, kidnapping, rap/hip-hop,
    roving bands of “youths”, pants worn around the ankles, and hair weaves.

    • Ed_NY

      Well said Enar, you can also add homicide, incompetence, stupidity, shop lifting, preteen pregnancy, welfare, food stamps, ssi, robberies, etc.

  • Oil Can Harry

    So nonwhites flock to Washington state looking for gubmint and military jobs?

    Another reason Ron Paul is correct to advocate huge cuts in gov’t spending including the defense budget.

  • I get the impression that everything in Lorton is now hunky-dory.

    I would be interesting to go a step further and research the change in the rates of crimes from 1970 to 2012. What types of crimes and social problems are now affecting this community?

    We may not know for a few years until the new minority-majority population starts complaining that their community is plagued by problems that white folks won’t take seriously.

  • IstvanIN

    This is the whole idea.  We have no home that is ours.  There is no place for us to run to.  We are surrounded.  The die is cast.  We are out numbered and being eliminated much like the Rhodesians were and the Afrikaners are.

  • Thanks, now I know where not to move.

  • The__Bobster

    100% Obongo voters = die-versity?

  • The__Bobster
  • Puggg

    Washington, D.C. and suburbs are “diverse” for much the same reason imperial and post-imperial ancient Rome and modern London were/are “diverse.”  Because as the movie said, this is what came/comes of empire building.

  • vladdy1

    Sorry, guys, but it’ll take more than that to demoralize us.

  • “Non-Hispanic Whites.” Yet another term meant to marginalize Whites of European decent…Why
    should the qualifier be the idiom Hispanic?

  • AmericanTaxPayerNoMore

    “Diverse” is just another word for Wipe Out White People.

    I have yet to see any area described as “diverse” to be inclusive and equally so, of White People.

  • I live in Fairfax County and the article is absolutely true.  I’ve been here about ten years and even in that time period, the amount of change is noticeable.  My immediate neighborhood has become a bit more diverse, but the diversity has come in the form of black government employees, who are generally good neighbors who maintain intact (i.e. two parent) households for their children.  I realize this is an anomaly and is due to the proximity of the seat of the federal government.  Other little things I notice, such as local stores and fast food places become staffed with people who can barely speak English and don’t take care of things as well.  Or when I’m out shopping, I see Middle Eastern men in traditional garb follwed by their covered up wives.  I’m always tempted to ask them “If your tradtions are so important, why did you come here?” I’ve also noticed more cabs parked overnight on the side streets of my development.  That’s usually not an indicator that more white people have moved in. 

  • Detroit_WASP

    NYB, are are the blacks wrecking Canada as they did Detroit, Flint MI, Pontiac MI, Benton Harbor MI, Cleveland and East St. Louis, Memphis ?

  • Detroit_WASP

    I lived in Pueblo Colorado for two years and the rest of my life in the Detroit area.  Pueblo is 50% Hispanic. I lived 27 of my years IN the city of Detroit.  Yes, Hispanics are better than blacks.   Seen it first hand.  If the Hispanics you know live in DC they are likely pretty ghetto, uneducated and dumb.  

    Because of the company I keep, I can name 6 Hispanics who have technical degrees (no social science) and are very good people.   I’m not saying they are all wonderful but they are a far cry from blacks.   The Hispanics I know do call the dark-skinned, cowboy hat wearing Mexicans “wetbacks”   They have a pecking order just like light skinned and dark skinned blacks.