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The Anchorage Mosaic: Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Urban North



America is entering a new demographic era. Recent
projections indicate that the nation will shift from a
white-majority to a no-majority ethnoracial compo-
sition within the next thirty years.3 Among children
the shift will occur much sooner, probably before
the next presidential election. This transformation
has been fueled over the decades by a combination
of factors, including shifting ethnoracial identities,
an increasing number of interracial unions, group
differences in mortality and fertility, and immi-
gration from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the
Caribbean. The diversication trend has been wide-
spread across American communities, though the
magnitude of diversity and the pace of change is
uneven from place to place.4
Where does Anchorage fall on the diversity con-
tinuum? It has long been an intercultural crossroads,
though it does not have a reputation for diversity
outside the state of Alaska. Based on population size
alone, one would not predict high levels of diversity
here; the nation’s most diverse cities are typically
its largest. However, Anchorage does have many of
the hallmarks of diversity identied in the academic
literature.5 One of these is simple geography. Many
Western coastal cities are highly diverse due in part
to their proximity to Asia and Latin America and to
their attractiveness to an array of domestic movers
from other regions of the United States. Aside from
location, Anchorage has a relatively youthful popula-
tion and the nation’s youngest age cohorts are a great
deal more diverse than its oldest ones. Additionally,
several of the city’s largest employment sectors—
military, transportation, health care, retail, leisure,
and hospitality—tend to attract diverse workforces.
In this chapter, I use data from the US Census
Bureau and the US Department of Education to cal-
culate diversity indices for Anchorage and other
American cities. This allows for an assessment of
The Anchorage Mosaic:
Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Urban North1
by Chad R. Farrell
Bringing the American experience to Alaska full circle, Professor Chad Farrell’s research on modern Anchorage’s
demographics uncovers several neighborhoods and school districts with unrivaled diversity. Though such
cities as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston strike the common observer as cosmopolitan magnets
shaped by global migration, Anchorage in fact exceeds these places in its diversity by some measures. The
city and state have experienced consistent growth and prosperity—with intermittent slowdowns—over the
past quarter century. This has ensured a steady flow of people from within the state, but also the Lower 48
and, indeed, the world. And despite their differences in language, culture, and education, all have come to
Anchorage in search of opportunity and a better life.
376 Chad R. Farrell
where Anchorage ranks nationally and how this has
changed over the past three decades. Additionally,
I compare diversity levels in Anchorage neighbor-
hoods and public schools to those found elsewhere
across the country. The demographic analyses pre-
sented below reveal that Anchorage ranks quite high
in diversity among American cities and has some of
the most diverse neighborhoods and public schools
in the entire nation.
Dening Diversity
“Diversity” has a variety of meanings in different
contexts and thus has a range of connotations. In
this chapter, I opt for a demographic appraisal.
One way to conceptualize demographic diversity is
to consider both the number of groups present in
a population and their size relative to one another.
These groups could be based on characteristics
such as age, income, religion, language, political
afliation, sexual orientation, or occupation, to
name a few. This chapter focuses on the ethnoracial
components of diversity. I use the term ethnoracial
as an explicit reminder that terms like race and eth-
nicity reect social constructs rather than biolog-
ical categories. Demographic analyses of ethnora-
cial diversity are often quite broad, relying on crude
white/nonwhite comparisons or honing in on just
a few large groups to the exclusion of others. My
goal here is to treat ethnoracial diversity in a more
rened manner by incorporating multiple groups’
demographic contributions to localized diversity.
What are the characteristics of a population rich
in ethnoracial diversity? Consider three hypotheti-
cal neighborhoods. Neighborhood A is an all-white
neighborhood. One does not require an intricate
demographic analysis to establish that this neigh-
borhood has a very low level of diversity. Actually, it
could be classied as having no diversity—at least
no ethnoracial diversity—by virtue of the fact that a
single ethnoracial group constitutes its entire pop-
ulation. The second case, Neighborhood B, is more
heterogeneous, containing a combination of white,
black, Latino, Asian, and Native residents. Despite
this array of groups, however, Neighborhood B is
still 80 percent white. Thus, while it is certainly
more diverse than Neighborhood A, it does not
appear to have a high degree of diversity overall. By
contrast, Neighborhood C has the same number of
groups present in Neighborhood B, but in this case
all the groups are of similar size to one another. This
is a neighborhood with extremely high levels of eth-
noracial diversity.
Fortunately, there are measures that allow us
to quantify the magnitude of diversity in neighbor-
hoods (and other geographic or institutional units). I
rely on the entropy index, one of the most commonly
used diversity measures.6 This index has a minimum
value of zero, which occurs when only a single group
is present in a population. It reaches its maximum
of 100 when all groups are of identical size. I rely on
seven broad panethnic groupings used by the US
Census Bureau. These include Hispanics or Latinos
of any race and the non-Hispanic segments of the
white, black, Asian, Pacic Islander, and Alaska
Native/American Indian population.7 The seventh
group, labeled below as “multiracial,” includes
non-Hispanics who choose two or more racial iden-
tities combined with a smaller group who identies
“other.” In several of the analyses provided below, I
combine Asians and Pacic Islanders because the US
Census Bureau did not provide disaggregated counts
prior to the 2000 census. Thus, the diversity scores
will reect six panethnic groups that encompass the
entire population.8
The Anchorage Mosaic 377
Below I address diversity at three levels of anal-
ysis: cities, neighborhoods, and schools. At the city
level, I use 1980–2010 racial/ethnic counts from the
US Census Bureau to track the magnitude and trajec-
tory of diversity in the Municipality of Anchorage in
comparison to all American cities of at least 50,000
people. There were 432 of these cities in 1980, and
this number increased to 716 in 2010. At the neigh-
borhood level, I measure the diversity of tracts,
which are census-dened administrative units with
an average size of 4,000 residents. In cities this
population criterion usually results in geographic
units that many people would regard as neighbor-
hoods. My nal units of analysis are public schools.
Public schools generally rely on geographically
based attendance zones, though their boundaries
rarely correspond to census tract boundaries. I use
US Department of Education enrollment counts
from 2013–2014 to assess diversity in local schools
compared to public schools in the remainder of the
United States.
Anchorage Diversity Trends
Before turning to the diversity analyses, I rst
take a look at how the ethnoracial composition
of Anchorage has changed over the past decades.
Figure 17.1 displays the demographic breakdown
of the six panethnic groups in Anchorage and the
United States in 1980 and 2010. It is clear that the
population of Anchorage has become more diverse
since 1980, though in a slightly different fashion
than the nation as a whole. While the white percent-
age of Anchorage’s population has tracked quite
closely with the country, it has had a much more
balanced distribution of nonwhite groups. Its black
and Latino percentages are modest compared to
national gures, though these two groups represent
a signicant and growing segment of the city’s pop-
ulation. Groups that are smaller in size nationally—
Asians and Pacic Islanders, Alaska Natives and
American Indians, and multiracial individuals—
occupy much larger segments of the Anchorage
population. So, while Anchorage retains a white
majority, it has a great deal of diversity when look-
ing across multiple panethnic groups.
Just how diverse? How does Anchorage compare
to other American cities? To answer these ques-
tions, I calculated diversity indices for American cit-
ies with populations of at least 50,000 people in 1980
and 2010. The results for Anchorage are provided in
table 17.1 In 1980, Anchorage had a diversity score
of 38.4, putting it near the middle of the pack (54th
percentile) among 432 cities. The city experienced
a great deal of demographic change in the ensuing
three decades. Overall, its population increased by
two-thirds, from 174,000 in 1980 to 291,000 in 2010.
It diversied even more rapidly, with a diversity
score increasing more than 80 percent from 38 in
1980 to 70 in 2010. This rate of diversication out-
paced many other cities, as Anchorage climbed to a
ranking of 103 in 2010, putting it in the top 15 percent
of 716 US cities that year. For comparison purposes,
I list other cities in table 17.1 that were, at each time
point, similar to Anchorage in terms of population
size and diversity level.9
How rapid was Anchorage’s diversity increase?
Figure 17.2 provides a trend line for Anchorage
between 1980 and 2010. It also includes diversity trends
for the average American city and the average city in
the Western region of the United States. On average,
the thirty-year trend was toward greater diversity in
American cities. In fact, nearly all communities—cit-
ies,suburbs, towns, rural counties—became more
diverse over this period.10 As noted above, Anchorage
“We’re all mixed up and that’s what makes us stronger.”
—La Yang, soccer player at Bartlett High School2
Figure 17.1. Ethnoracial composition of Anchorage and the
United States. Source: US Census Bureau.
Anchorage, 1980
Anchorage, 2010
United States, 1980
0.6% Other
United States, 2010
378 Chad R. Farrell
was a bit above average in 1980, though it was slightly
less diverse than its average peer in the West. After the
1980s, however, Anchorage started to pull away from
the pack; by 2010, it was far more diverse than its aver-
age counterpart in the Western region and the nation
as a whole.
What happened between 1990 and 2010? All six
of the panethnic groups experienced population
growth in Anchorage during this period, but some
increased more rapidly than others. White popula-
tion growth (2.6%) during this span was quite mod-
est, as was that for the black population (8%). By
contrast, the Alaska Native/American Indian pop-
ulation increased by more than half (56%), and the
Latino population more than doubled in size, from
around 9,000 in 1990 to over 22,000 in 2010. The
Asian/Pacic Islander population boomed, nearly
tripling in size from roughly 10,000 in 1990 to nearly
29,000 in 2010.
The most dramatic increase, however, occurred
in the other/multiracial population. This shift
coincided with important changes in how the US
Census Bureau collected data on race. Prior to 2000,
respondents did not have the option to choose more
than one racial identity on the census question-
naire. Thus, in 1980 and 1990 the “other” group-
ing reected only those who chose “other” as their
racial identity. This was a relatively small portion of
the population both nationally and locally (see g.
17.1). Beginning in 2000, respondents were given the
option to choose multiple racial identities and many
Anchorage residents did so. By 2010, over 20,000
Anchorage residents chose more than one race. In
proportional terms, this puts Anchorage second
behind Honolulu among all American cities.
It is important to note that many Anchorage res-
idents who identify as Alaska Native fall within the
multiracial grouping as I have categorized it here.
Thus, the percentages reecting the Alaska Native/
American Indian population in gure 17.1 and else-
where in this chapter capture only those Indigenous
Table 17.1 Diversity in the Anchorage municipality
1980 2010
Diversity (max=100)
Comparable cities
Aurora, CO
Colorado Springs, CO
Tacoma, WA
Aurora, CO
Plano, TX
St. Paul, MN
Note: Ranks and percentages are based on 432 cities in 1980 and 716 cities in 2010.
Table 17.1. Diversity in the Anchorage municipality. Source:
US Census Bureau.
The Anchorage Mosaic 379
residents who identify a single ethnoracial identity.
In 2010, the US Census Bureau estimates that nearly
half of American Indians and Alaska Natives reported
more than one race.11 The 2010 Native segment of the
Anchorage population increases in size—from 7.6 to
12.4 percent—when taking into account those iden-
tifying multiracial identities. Anchorage ranks at
the top of US cities for its Indigenous representation
when using this more inclusive categorization.12
I chose to include a separate multiracial cate-
gory for two reasons. The rst is methodological,
as the properties of the diversity index are such
that it requires mutually exclusive groupings. This
becomes a challenge when working with multiracial
individuals, of course. For example, consider a resi-
dent who identies as both Alaska Native and white.
Does that resident belong in the white or Alaska
Native group? The answer is clearly “both” but that
is not possible in this sort of analysis. So, rather
than arbitrarily assigning that person to a monora-
cial grouping, I have instead created the separate
multiracial group. That leads to the second reason
for classifying the data in this fashion. Multiracial
identity is arguably the single most important indi-
cator of the ethnoracial diversity of a population.13
Creating a separate group of this incredibly diverse
cross-section of Anchorage residents gives it the
appropriate demographic “heft” when calculating
diversity indices.
Diversity within Diversity
While these analyses provide a valuable rough sketch
of the contours of diversity in Anchorage, there is a
great deal of diversity within each of these paneth-
nic groups that is missed. Consider, for example,
the rich linguistic, cultural, and geographic diver-
sity existing within Alaska’s Indigenous popula-
tion.14 Similar internal heterogeneities apply to the
other panethnic groups as well. Unfortunately, data
limitations in previous census enumerations do
not allow for a multidecade assessment of change
Figure 17.2. Anchorage diversity trends compared to other
American cities. Source: US Census Bureau.
Western cities (avg)
U.S. cities (avg)
Diversity Index
25 1980 1990 2000 2010
54.6 56.8
380 Chad R. Farrell
for many of these ethnic subgroups. However, data
from the 2010 census and its annual counterpart,
the American Community Survey, do provide recent
estimates for a more rened assortment of groups.
In table 17.2, I provide an alphabetized list of the
largest ancestry/ethnic groups in Anchorage. Due to
space limitations, I have included only groups with
estimated population sizes of 500 or more.
The detailed Latino, Asian, Pacic Islander, and
Native groups found in table 17.2 come from the 2010
census, which collects data on subgroups in addi-
tion to the broader panethnic groups. The remain-
der come from the annual American Community
Survey (ACS), which collects data on the US popula-
tion during the intervening years between decennial
censuses. The ACS is a probability survey and thus
susceptible to the same sorts of sampling error we
see in political polls and the like. I have relied on ACS
data that are pooled together over a ve-year period
(2008–2012) centered on the decennial year of 2010.
Pooling these data over multiple years increases sam-
ple sizes and thus reduces sampling error. The ACS
questionnaire uses an open-ended question regard-
ing the respondent’s “ancestry or ethnic origin.”
Respondents are free to respond as they please and
the results can range from specic ethnic identities
(e.g., French Canadian, Welsh) to broader continen-
tal or regional origins (e.g., African, Scandinavian).
It is worth highlighting some of the Asian and
Pacic Islander groups appearing in table 17.2. In pre-
vious sections I relied on a combined Asian/Pacic
Islander grouping due to census reporting practices
in earlier decades. This aggregation tends to under-
state the distinctiveness of Anchorage, given the
array of different Asian and Islander ethnic groups
concentrated here. The largest by far is Filipinos,
whose presence in Alaska dates back centuries.
The 2010 census enumerated 12,768 Filipinos in
Anchorage, ranking it 30th among US cities. To put
this in some statewide perspective, the Anchorage
Filipino community alone would constitute the
fourth-largest city in the state of Alaska. Other Asian
groups are less numerous than Filipinos but still
sizeable. In 2010, Anchorage was ranked in the top-
thirty cities for the size of its Korean population of
4,667 (rank = 26th), Hmong population of 3,408 (rank
= 9th), Laotian population of 1,922 (rank = 11th), and
Thai population of 969 (rank = 15th). San Diego is the
only other American city appearing in the top-thirty
rankings for all ve of these Asian origin groups.
Among Pacic Islanders, Samoans and Native
Hawaiians are the two largest groups found in
Anchorage. When considering them alongside
others identifying Polynesian, Micronesian, and
Melanesian origins (e.g., Tongans, Guamanians,
Marshallese, Fijians), these 5,000-plus Pacic
Islanders constituted 2.8 percent of the Anchorage
population in 2010. This percentage is small relative
to the other groups, but it puts Anchorage tenth
among US cities.15 To sum up, the Asian and Pacic
Islander population in Anchorage is highly diverse
in its own right, a fact that is missed in diversity
analyses that rely on broad panethnic groups.
Immigration also plays an important role in eth-
noracial diversity that is captured only indirectly in
my panethnic diversity indices. Nearly one of ten
(9.3 percent) Anchorage residents identied as for-
eign-born in 2010. With an estimated population
size over 27,000, the Anchorage immigrant popula-
tion is smaller than it is in many larger gateway cit-
ies in the United States.
However, it is large enough for Anchorage to be
designated as a medium-sized “immigrant outpost”
in a recent study.16 Figure 17.3 provides a sampling
The Anchorage Mosaic 381
of various geographic origins for the Anchorage
immigrant population based on 2008–2012 ACS esti-
mates. Asia accounts for ve of the ten largest ori-
gin groups, with Filipinos approaching one-third of
the total immigrant population locally. Large num-
bers also hail from Mexico, Canada, the Dominican
Republic, Russia, and Germany.
Diversity in Anchorage Neighborhoods
How diverse are Anchorage neighborhoods? While
Anchorage scores relatively high on the diversity
index, it does not necessarily follow that its neigh-
borhoods will. Due to high and persistent racial
and ethnic segregation in American cities, many
urban neighborhoods remain racially homogeneous
despite being located in diverse metropolitan con-
texts.17 Such segregation in US cities is caused by a
combination of factors, including income inequal-
ity among groups, residential preferences, and
exclusionary housing practices.18 As Ian Hartman
documents in the previous chapter, Anchorage has
a long history of housing discrimination and racial
residential segregation. Despite that legacy, the cur-
rent level of segregation in the Anchorage metropol-
itan area is relatively modest compared to its coun-
terparts elsewhere in the United States.19 This fact,
combined with the overall level of diversity in the
city, indicates that at least some Anchorage neigh-
borhoods will be quite diverse.
As discussed above, I use census-dened tracts as
my neighborhood units. Figure 17.4 provides a map
showing tract boundaries in downtown Anchorage
and its vicinity. In some cases, census tract bound-
aries coincide with those of our community coun-
cil areas. For example, Tract 6 corresponds very
closely to the Mountain View Community Council
Area. In other cases, however, tract boundaries are
Table 17.2. Largest ancenstry/ethnic groups in Anchorage.
This includes groups of 500 or more, based on decennial
counts and ACS estimates. Source: 2010 US Census Bureau
(Tables QT-P5, QT-P7, QT-P8, QT-P9, QT-P10); American
Community Survey, 2008–2012 (Table B04001).
Asian Indian
Black/African Am.
French Canadian
Native Hawaiian
Northern European
Puerto Rican
Table 17.2 Largest ancestry/ethnic groups
in Anchorage
Figure 17.3. Geographic origins of the immigrant population
of Anchorage. Source: US Census Bureau.
4% 11%
W. Europe, Canada & Australia
Latin America & Caribbean
Eastern Europe & Russia
The Anchorage Mosaic 383
Figure 17.4. Census tracts in downtown Anchorage and
vicinity. 37
less consistent with the local geographies familiar
to many Anchorage residents. In fact, parts of the
Fairview Community Council Area can be found in
three different tracts: 9.01, 9.02, and 10.20 While cen-
sus tracts are imperfect reections of our own mental
maps of local communities, they can be quite useful
for national neighborhood comparisons for two rea-
sons: (1) they approximate neighborhood-level geo-
graphic scale in urban areas; and (2) there are demo-
graphic data readily available for all of them.
The tract diversity analyses are very similar to
those already presented for American cities. In this
case, I calculated six-group diversity indices for all
72,358 census tracts in the United States. After sort-
ing these tracts by their diversity scores, I was able
to determine the ten highest diversity tracts in the
United States for the most recent decennial year
(see table 17.3). Three Anchorage census tracts are
ranked highest, followed by a tract in Seattle and six
in Queens, New York. Using gure 17.4 as a guide,
we can see that Mountain View (Tract 6) tops the
list with a 2010 diversity score of 96.3. It is followed
by Tract 9.01, which includes Airport Heights and
parts of Fairview, and Tract 8.01, encompassing the
Wonder Park area. There are additional Anchorage
tracts that do not appear in the top ten but still rank
very high nationally on the diversity index. These
seven tracts include Northeast Muldoon (Tract 7.03,
rank = 15th); Midtown (Tract 19, rank = 17th); Chester
Creek (Tract 9.02, rank = 25th); Russian Jack (Tract
8.02, rank =26th); Spenard (Tract 20, rank = 45th);
Northwest Muldoon (Tract 7.02, rank = 61st); and the
Ptarmigan Area (Tract 7.01, rank = 64th).
A glance at the tract ethnoracial compositions
provided in table 17.3 reveals that the six panethnic
384 Chad R. Farrell
groups tend to be evenly distributed, as one would
expect to nd in highly diverse neighborhoods. One
group in particular stands out in this list: Alaska
Natives/American Indians. While the tracts in Queens
are extremely diverse by any measure, their Native
populations are much smaller than those found in the
Anchorage and Seattle tracts. Thus, their diversity
scores are slightly lower. There is another group
appearing in table 17.3 that does not immediately
spring to mind when discussing diversity: non-
Hispanic whites. Note that they constitute a
signicant nonmajority segment of the residential
mosaic in the Anchorage tracts. Their absence—a
common reality in many highly segregated
neighborhood settings across the United States—
would have resulted in a reduction in the tract
diversity scores. The same is true for each of the six
panethnic groups residing in these high-diversity
Diversity in Anchorage Public Schools
My nal set of analyses looks at ethnoracial diver-
sity in Anchorage schools, using data from the US
Department of Education.21 In previous analyses I
combined Asians and Pacic Islanders due to lim-
itations in some of the earlier census enumerations.
With the public school data, I disaggregate these
two groups and in turn calculate more rened sev-
en-group diversity indices rather than the six-group
indices presented in previous sections. This requires
some modications in the calculation of the diver-
sity index but results in the same potential range of
values from zero to 100.
I begin with a snapshot of the entire Anchorage
School District (ASD) in relation to the overall pub-
lic school student population in the United States
(see table 17.4). The ASD’s seven-group diversity
Table 17.3. Ten highest diversity census tracts in the United
States, 2010. Rankings are based on 72,358 census-defined
tracts in the United States. Source: US Census Bureau.
Table 17.3. Ten highest diversity census tracts in the United States, 2010
Rank Tract # City Div.
1 6 Anchorage 96.3 24 12.7 11.9 25.9 16 9.5
2 9.01 Anchorage 95.5 30.7 11.7 11.5 15.2 20.2 10.8
38.01 Anchorage 91.3 36.8 9.4 11.6 22 10.3 9.8
4 9400.07 Seattle 91 37.8 11.1 20.6 11.9 10.3 8.3
5 100 New York 90.8 10.9 14.8 24.2 24.9 1.8 23.3
6 96 New York 90.8 10 16.6 20.7 26.2 1.9 24.7
7 840 New York 90.2 9 20.5 25 23.4 1.5 20.6
8838 New York 89.7 15.1 15.6 28.5 22 0.6 18.2
9 846.01 New York 89.6 18.8 13.4 25.8 21.8 0.3 20
10 478 New York 89 17.2 30.3 18.4 23.1 1.2 9.9
The Anchorage Mosaic 385
score was 85.0 in 2014, putting it in a virtual tie for
top ranking among over 16,000 local school districts
nationally.22 This is considerably higher than the
already diverse national student population. Similar
to the overall comparisons between Anchorage and
the United States found above (see g. 17.1), the ASD
has a much larger representation of Native, Asian,
Pacic Islander, and multiracial students than the
national student population. Latino and black stu-
dents make up a smaller percentage of local students
than found nationally, but they still constitute a sub-
stantial—17.4 percent combined—segment of the
ASD population. Finally, white students constitute
a slight majority of public school students nation-
wide, while making up a sizable plurality of the
Anchorage School District.
Additional analyses reveal that extremely high
levels of diversity are found across many Anchorage
elementary, middle, and high schools. In fact, nine-
teen of the twenty most diverse public elementary
schools in the United States are found in Anchorage;
North Star, Ptarmigan, and Wonder Park top the list
of 52,066 public elementary schools. Anchorage also
includes six of the ten most diverse middle schools
in the nation; Clark, Begich, Wendler, Central, and
Romig score highest among 16,356 public middle
schools and Hanshew is also featured in the top ten.
Among 16,222 public high schools, East, Bartlett, and
West remained the three most diverse high schools
in the United States in 2014; these three received
identical rankings in 2011.23 When analyzing all
public schools irrespective of grade level, the ASD
accounts for twenty-seven of the thirty highest diver-
sity schools in the nation (see table 17.5).24
It is important to note that many Anchorage
schools not appearing in the topmost rankings also
exhibit high levels of diversity. Consider that the
average Anchorage elementary school is nearly twice
Table 17.4. Diversity and ethnoracial composition of US and
Anchorage public schools, 2013–2014. Source: US Department of
Table 17.4. Diversity and ethnoracial composition of
US and Anchorage public schools, 2013–2014
School District
public schools
Total students (1,000s) 48.2 49,285.80
Diversity (max = 100) 85 66.8
% AK Native/Am. Ind. 8.6 1
% Asian 10.8 4.9
% Pacic Islander 5 0.4
% Latino 11.3 25
% Black 6.1 15.4
% White 44.2 50.3
% Multiracial/Other 14.1 3
Table 17.5.Thirty highest diversity public schools in the
United States, 2013–2014. Source: US Department of Education.
Table 17.5 Thirty highest diversity public schools in the United States, 2013–2014
School City Total
(max = 100)
1 North Star Elementary Anchorage, AK 424 98.8
2 Clark Middle School Anchorage, AK 1,126 98.2
3Ptarmigan Elementary Anchorage, AK 391 97.9
4Wonder Park Elementary Anchorage, AK 365 97.8
5Airport Heights Elementary Anchorage, AK 310 97
6 East High School Anchorage, AK 2,139 97
7Russian Jack Elementary Anchorage, AK 358 96.5
8Creekside Park Elementary Anchorage, AK 476 96.4
9Nicholas J. Begich Middle School Anchorage, AK 1,003 96.2
10 Mountain View Elementary Anchorage, AK 346 96.2
11 William Tyson Elementary Anchorage, AK 428 95.5
12 Taku Elementary Anchorage, AK 408 95.3
13 Bartlett High School Anchorage, AK 1,612 95.3
14 Wendler Middle School Anchorage, AK 487 94.8
15 Fairview Elementary Anchorage, AK 421 94.7
16 Nunaka Valley Elementary Anchorage, AK 249 94.1
17 Williwaw Elementary Anchorage, AK 418 94
18 Abbott Loop Elementary Anchorage, AK 377 93.8
19 College Gate Elementary Anchorage, AK 356 93.7
20 Willow Crest Elementary Anchorage, AK 374 93.7
21 Lake Otis Elementary Anchorage, AK 420 93.5
22 Tudor Elementary Anchorage, AK 356 92.2
23 Lake Hood Elementary Anchorage, AK 363 91.7
24 Spring Hill Elementary Anchorage, AK 384 91.4
25 West High School Anchorage, AK 1,842 91.4
26 Central Middle School of Science Anchorage, AK 491 91.3
27 Tank Elementary Green Bay, WI 213 90.3
28 Chester Valley Elementary Anchorage, AK 241 90.2
29 Margaret Scott Elementary Portland, OR 467 88.9
30 Pearl Harbor Elementary Honolulu, HI 722 88.8
The Anchorage Mosaic 387
as diverse as the average US elementary school. The
distinctiveness of Anchorage schools becomes even
clearer when focusing on one of the groups least
likely to be exposed to high levels of school diversity:
white high school students. At the national level, the
average white public high school student attends a
school that is 72 percent white. In other words, that
average white student is in an educational setting
roughly as diverse as the nation was a quarter cen-
tury ago. By contrast, the average white high school
student in the Anchorage School District is attend-
ing a school in which nearly half (47 percent) of her
counterparts are students of color.
When considering the topic of diversity, most
Americans immediately think of large immi-
grant gateways like New York and Los Angeles. Yet
Anchorage ranks relatively high among US cities
in ethnoracial diversity and in recent decades has
diversied more rapidly than most other areas. As a
result, it has some of the most diverse neighborhoods
and public schools in the entire nation. The demo-
graphic analyses presented in this chapter include
thousands of communities and tens of thousands
of neighborhoods and schools. To be sure, this was
a considerable undertaking. In many ways, however,
this was the easy part. It is a relatively straightfor-
ward task quantifying demographic diversity, track-
ing it over time, and establishing diversity rankings.
There are, however, much deeper issues to con-
sider here. I have provided a bird’s-eye view of
diversity in Anchorage over recent decades, yet the
residents of this city do not see diversity through a
spreadsheet or a pie chart. It is experienced and nego-
tiated “on the ground” in a range of venues including
public spaces, sporting events, classrooms, military
bases, places of worship, parks, grocery stores, work-
places, and community events. Our daily experiences
of diversity are often quite mundane—I suspect the
lines at the DMV are among the most diverse in the
entire country. These experiences can also be quite
intimate, as evidenced by interracial friendships
and romantic unions, the latter of which often bring
forth multiracial offspring. These children will con-
tinue to blur America’s racial lines, lines that were
drawn generations before their birth.
Despite its diversity, Anchorage is no postra-
cial utopia. It is certainly not immune to the racial
disparities in housing, income, education, health,
and justice found elsewhere in the United States.
Past oppression conspires with present-day dis-
crimination to marginalize certain groups, damag-
ing mental health in the process.25 Fissures between
law enforcement and communities of color are not
solely an “Outside” concern; Anchorage residents
also tend to view the police through the prism of
race.26 Our rich diversity has not eliminated discrim-
ination, ignorance, negligence, and ugly political
rhetoric. Hate crimes have occurred here in recent
memory.27 Some feel a vague sense of unease, even
fear, in response to the demographic transforma-
tions currently underway. Indeed, the Harvard polit-
ical scientist Robert Putnam argues that increasing
ethnic diversity tends to erode trust in communi-
ties, resulting in residents “hunkering down” and
retreating from community life.28 This sort of mal-
aise could be fertile ground for local or national
demagogues seeking to stoke vestigial fears about
the “other” in our midst.
Yet, there is a parallel diversity narrative. A long
line of academic research indicates that exposure to
diversity—via contact with members of groups other
than our own—engenders tolerance and undermines
388 Chad R. Farrell
prejudice.29 It might even make us smarter, or at
least more discerning; diversity introduces new per-
spectives and conicting viewpoints that make us
less vulnerable to the groupthink so characteristic
of homogeneous settings.30 It also brings with it a
vitality and dynamism. Across US counties, diver-
sity is associated with increasing business activity,
including new start-ups, small business growth, and
self-employment.31 In the rst interlude of this book,
William Hensley and Gloria O’Neill provide a valuable
appraisal of the varied and sizable Alaska Native con-
tributions to the local economy. Our newest immi-
grant residents have followed suit, accounting for
one of every seven self-employed residents, contrib-
uting $1.9 billion to the city’s GDP and wielding an
estimated $573 million in localized spending power.32
The benets of diversity are well documented,
but they are not automatic.33 Fortunately, there are
those willing to do the patient work of bridge build-
ing in our community. Aptly enough, that is the mis-
sion of the Bridge Builders of Anchorage, whose goal
is to “build a community of friends among all racial
and cultural groups in Anchorage.” Additionally, the
Municipality of Anchorage has partnered with the
Anchorage Economic Development Corporation,
local businesses, and organizations to join the
Welcoming Cities project, a coalition of US cities
seeking to promote the economic, cultural, and
social contributions of immigrants and refugees.
Catholic Social Services continues to play a crucial
role in this effort through its Refugee Assistance
and Immigration Services (RAIS).34 The Anchorage
School District has received national media cover-
age for its successful work with refugee students.35
The Alaska Institute for Justice (AIJ) trains language
interpreters for work in government, business, and
service organizations. To date, AIJ has trained over
two hundred bilingual Alaskans uent in forty
languages, including Albanian, Danish, Hmong,
Samoan, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, and Yup’ik,
to name a few. At my own university, the UAA
Honors College has funded undergraduate research
investigating the immigrant college experience.36
Additionally, the UAA Multicultural Center strives,
along with other university organizations, faculty,
and student groups, to engage the local commu-
nity and create a welcoming and inclusive campus.
Meanwhile, the Anchorage Museum continues its
mission to commemorate our distinctiveness while
also linking us to a broader, interconnected world.
The list goes on.
A century after it rst emerged as a tent city
at the mouth of Ship Creek, Anchorage is situated
at the intersection of an assortment of economic,
demographic, cultural, and environmental forces,
some of which are unique to our state, while others
are global in scope. One consequence of these seis-
mic shifts is that Anchorage nds itself at the van-
guard of America’s diversity trend. This presents us
with tremendous opportunities and some signi-
cant challenges as well. As the nation embarks on a
new demographic era, our community’s legacy will
be determined in large part by our successes and
failures on this front.
The Anchorage Mosaic 389
1 Support for this research has been provided by a
grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(R01HD074605, Barrett A. Lee, PI). The content of
this chapter is solely the responsibility of the author
and does not reect the ofcial views of the National
Institutes of Health. Additional support comes from
the College of Arts and Sciences at the University
of Alaska Anchorage and the Population Research
Institute at Pennsylvania State University, which
receives infrastructure funding from the Eunice
Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development (2P2CHD041025). I thank
Carolyn Forner and Barrett A. Lee for their helpful
feedback on previous drafts of this chapter. I owe ad-
ditional thanks to Anchorage resident Steve Carwile,
whose email inquiry prompted the initial analyses
of school diversity that culminated in the results
presented here.
2 Matt Tunseth, “‘The Game’s a Common Language’:
Anchorage Prep Soccer Teams Reect City’s
Diversity,” Alaska Dispatch News, May 23, 2015,
accessed January 11, 2016,
3 Sandra L. Colby and Jennifer M. Ortman,
“Projections of the Size and Composition of the US
Population: 2014 to 2060,” Population Estimates and
Projections, US Census Bureau, accessed May 18, 2015,
4 Barrett A. Lee, John Iceland, and Chad R. Farrell, “Is
Ethnoracial Integration on the Rise? Evidence from
Metropolitan and Micropolitan America since 1980,”
in Diversity and Disparities: America Enters a New
Century, ed. J. R. Logan, 415–56 (New York: Russell
Sage Foundation, 2014).
5 James P. Allen and Eugene J. Turner, “The Most
Ethnically Diverse Places in the United States,”
Urban Geography 10 (1989): 523–39; Barrett A. Lee,
John Iceland, and Gregory Sharp, “Racial and Ethnic
Diversity Goes Local: Charting Change in American
Communities over Three Decades,” Census brief
prepared for Project 2010 (US Census Bureau, 2013),
accessed May 9, 2016,
6 Lee, Iceland, and Farrell, “Ethnoracial Integration,”
415–56; Michael J. White, “Segregation and Diversity
Measures in Population Distribution,” Population
Index 52 (1986): 198–221.
7 I choose these broad panethnic groups because they
are dened in a generally consistent manner across
census enumerations. However, the reader should
take note that this requires imposing clear bound-
aries between groups, when in reality they are much
8 The entropy index (E) is formally dened as: where
Qr refers to a specic ethnoracial group’s proportion
of the total population. I standardize the entropy
score by dividing it by its maximum and multiply-
ing by 100. This results in a more intuitive range of
values from zero to 100, or from complete homoge-
neity to maximum diversity. Thus, in the six-group
case, I divide all scores by 1.792 (the natural loga-
rithm of 6) and multiply by 100. The subsequent
school analyses incorporate seven groups, so those
diversity scores are divided by 1.946 (the natural
logarithm of 7) and multiplied by 100.
9 Comparison cities were identied by selecting
those that had year-specic population sizes with-
in 50,000 of Anchorage and year-specic diversity
scores within ve points of Anchorage. Of these cit-
ies, I selected the three that most closely resembled
Anchorage’s ethnoracial composition.
10 Lee, Iceland, and Farrell, “Ethnoracial Integration,”
11 Tina Norris, Paula L. Vines, and Elizabeth M.
Hoeffel, “The American Indian and Alaska Native
Population: 2010,” 2010 Census Briefs (US Census
Bureau, 2012),
12 Norris, Vines, and Hoeffel, “American Indian and
Alaska Native Population.”
13 Jennifer Lee and Frank D. Bean, The Diversity Paradox:
Immigration and the Color Line in Twenty-First Century
America (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2012).
14 Steve J. Langdon, The Native People of Alaska:
Traditional Living in a Northern Land (Anchorage:
Greatland Graphics, 2013).
15 Anchorage is ranked fth nationally when the
comparison group is counties rather than cities
(Anchorage is designated as both a county and a
city). See Lindsay Hixson, Bradford B. Hepler, and
Myoung Ouk Kim, “The Native Hawaiian and Other
390 Chad R. Farrell
Pacic Islander Population: 2010,” 2010 Census Briefs
(US Census Bureau, 2012), accessed January 16,
16 Lee, Iceland, and Farrell, “Ethnoracial Integration,”
17 John R. Logan and Brian J. Stults, 2011, “The
Persistence of Segregation in the Metropolis: New
Findings from the 2010 Census,” Census brief pre-
pared for Project 2010, accessed April 30, 2016, http://
18 Camille Zubrinsky Charles, “The Dynamics of
Racial Residential Segregation,” Annual Review of
Sociology 29 (2003): 167–207. Margery Austin Turner,
Rob Santos, Diane K. Levy, Doug Wissoker, Claudia
Aranda, and Rob Pitingolo, Housing Discrimination
against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012
(Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and
Urban Development, 2013).
19 Chad R. Farrell, “A Microcosm of America?
Ethnoracial Diversity and Segregation in Anchorage,
1980–2010” (presentation, Urban in Alaska
Conference, Anchorage, AK, March 29, 2013).
20 Maps of Anchorage Community Council Areas can
be found here: Federation of Community Councils,
“Council Maps,” accessed May 9, 2016, http://com-
21 These data come from the US Department of
Education, which collects annual scal and demo-
graphic data about public schools from state edu-
cation agency ofcials. The data can be downloaded
from National Center for Education Statistics, “ELSI:
Elementary/Secondary Information System,” ac-
cessed May 10, 2016,
22 Sacramento’s Natomas Unied School District ranks
seven one-hundredths of a point higher, registering
a 2013–2014 diversity score of 85.05 compared to the
Anchorage School District’s 84.98.
23 Chad R. Farrell, “A Changing State, a Changing
City: Diversity in the North” (presentation, Annual
Meeting of the Alaska Press Club, Anchorage, AK,
April 27, 2014).
24 Diversity indices for all Anchorage schools (includ-
ing special education, vocational, and alternative
schools) are available upon request from the author.
25 E. J. R. David, Brown Skin, White Minds: Filipino -/
American Postcolonial Psychology (Charlotte, NC:
Information Age Publishing, 2013). Gabriel M.
Garcia, E. J. R. David, and Joy C. Mapaye, “Social
Determinants of Mental Health among Asians and
Pacic Islanders in Alaska” (poster, Community-
Academic Partnerships for Pacic Health Equity
Conference: He Huliau 2014, Ko Olina, HI,
September 19, 2014); Tina Marie Woods, Ruth
Zuniga, and E. J. R. David, “A Preliminary Report on
the Relationships between Collective Self-Esteem,
Historical Trauma, and Mental Health among Alaska
Native Peoples,” Journal of Indigenous Research 1, no. 2
(2012): 1–5.
26 Brad A Myrstol, “Making the Grade? Public
Evaluation of Police Performance in Anchorage,”
Alaska Justice Forum 22, no. 2 (2005): 5–10; Brad
A. Myrstol and Ezekiel Kaufman, “Alaska Native
Condence in Police: A Test of Group Position
Theory” (unpublished manuscript, 2016).
27 Michelle Theriault Boots, “Sudanese Refugees Living
in Anchorage Have Vehicles Vandalized,” Alaska
Dispatch News, March 29, 2015, accessed January
17, 2016,
hicles-vandalized; Richard Mauer, “Attack on
Native Draws Hate-Crime Charges,” Anchorage
Daily News, December 18, 2009, accessed January
17, 2016,
28 Robert D. Putnam, “E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and
Community in the Twenty-rst Century; The 2006
Johan Skytte Prize Lecture,” Scandinavian Political
Studies 30 (2007): 137–74.
29 Gordon W. Allport, The Nature of Prejudice
(Cambridge, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1954); Thomas F.
Pettigrew and Linda R. Tropp, When Groups Meet: The
Dynamics of Intergroup Contact (New York: Psychology
Press, 2011).
30 Sheen S. Levine, Evan P. Apfelbaum, Mark Bernard,
Valerie L. Bartelt, Edward J. Zajac, and David Stark,
“Ethnic Diversity Deates Price Bubbles,” Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
of America 111 (2014): 18524–29.
31 Mouhcine Guettabi, “The Determinants of Small
Business Success in Alaska,” Economic Development
Journal 14, no. 2 (2015): 49–58.
32 New American Economy, New Americans in Anchorage
(report prepared in partnership with Wells Fargo,
Anchorage Economic Development Association, and
The Anchorage Mosaic 391
the Municipality of Anchorage, accessed December
28, 2016,
33 J. Eric Oliver and Janelle Wong, “Intergroup
Prejudice in Multiethnic Settings,” American Journal
of Political Science 47 (2003): 567–82.
34 RAIS has also partnered with UAA researchers
to increase our understanding of refugee resil-
ience and economic integration: Delaney Mitchell,
Analyzing Barriers to Employment for Immigrant
and Refugee Residents of Anchorage” (paper, UAA
Undergraduate Research and Discovery Symposium,
Anchorage, AK, April 15, 2016); Rebecca V. Robinson,
“Pathways to Resilience in the Context of Somali
Culture and Forced Displacement” (PhD diss.,
University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013).
35 Jessica Huseman and Aymann Ismail, “Welcome to
America. Pack a Parka,” Slate, June 6, 2016, accessed
January 3, 2017,
36 Haley Dampier and Tsugumi Kozuma, “The United
States of Origin: Interpreting the Immigrant
Experience of UAA Students” (paper, UAA
Undergraduate Research and Discovery Symposium,
Anchorage, AK, April 18, 2014).
37 Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce
Development: Research and Analysis, “Maps and
GIS,” accessed May 13, 2016,
... Alaska is home to some 58,000 immigrants, about 8% of its population (9% of females and 7% males), over half of whom are found in Anchorage (Farrell, 2018). Most of Alaska's immigrants, about six of 10, now trace their origins to Asia, particularly the Philippines, Korea, and Thailand. ...
... Alaska is home to some 58,000 immigrants, about 8% of its population (9% of females and 7% males), over half of whom are found in Anchorage (Farrell, 2018). Most of Alaska's immigrants, about six of 10, now trace their origins to Asia, particularly the Philippines, Korea, and Thailand. ...
... Institution and Student Body UAA is a midsized (14,955 undergraduate students in 2018) open-enrollment institution offering graduate and undergraduate programs. The city of Anchorage is rich in ethnorocial diversity (Farrell, 2016), which is reflected in enrollments; 41% of UAA students identify as non-White. Attendance patterns and academic preparation at UAA are typical to open-enrollment institutions: 54% of students attend part-time and 35% receive Pell Grants (UAA Office of Institutional Research, 2015); 63% require developmental education in at least one area (University of Alaska Statewide Office of Institutional Research, 2016). ...
This paper explores the effect of a paired lab course on students' course outcomes in nonmajors introductory biology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. We compare course completion and final grades for 10,793 students (3736 who simultaneously enrolled in the lab and 7057 who did not). Unconditionally, students who self-select into the lab are more likely to complete the course and to earn a higher grade than students who do not. However, when we condition on observable course, academic, and demographic characteristics, we find much of this difference in student performance outcomes is attributable to selection bias, rather than an effect of the lab itself. The data and discussion challenge the misconception that labs serve as recitations for lecture content, noting that the learning objectives of science labs should be more clearly articulated and assessed independent of lecture course outcomes.
... Although Alaska has a well-deserved reputation as a rural and frontier state, the demographic diversity of its largest city, Anchorage, where more than one-half of the state's population resides, is often underappreciated. Seventeen percent of Anchorage residents speak a language other than English, and the Anchorage School District includes 27 of the 30 highest-diverse public schools in the nation (Early, 2017;Farrell, 2018). Approximately 100 different languages are spoken by children in the Anchorage school system, reflecting the significant diversity of their families (Anchorage School District, 2018). ...
Full-text available
Background: Anchorage, Alaska, has a large immigrant and refugee population. In fact, it is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States with almost 100 languages spoken by children in the public school system. The city's immigrant and refugee population speaks limited English, and most of these residents are unfamiliar with where or how to obtain health care services through the American health care system. Brief Description of Activity: We developed a peer language navigator (PLN) program. Implementation: The Anchorage Health Literacy Collaborative developed a community-wide program to address the health literacy needs of the city's immigrant and refugee population. Select people who attended Anchorage's adult literacy program (the Alaska Literacy Program) were chosen to learn about health and wellness topics as well as how to obtain health information from reliable online sources. These people, initially known as PLNs, were then trained to share health information resources with their respective communities. Results: A recent evaluation of the program using ripple effects mapping showed that the program has demonstrated wide success, providing understandable health information to hundreds of new English learners throughout the area and guiding them to reliable health and wellness information they can use for themselves, their families, and their community. PLNs have become leaders in their communities and have been renamed peer leader navigators. Lessons Learned: For similar programs to be successful, PLNs should be trained using adult learning principles, allowing them to focus on topics and issues of interest to them. The program should link with community organizations to extend the reach of the program. Care must be exercised to avoid overextending or overwhelming PLNs because after they become leaders in their communities, they will receive many requests to provide guidance and education. Finally, when possible, PLNs should be compensated so they can more fully devote their efforts to serving the community.
... Given the current composition of Anchorage's immigrant population, the question arises as to what degree immigrant residential patterns fall along existing color lines. Anchorage is an important case in that it has a long history of racial exclusion yet is currently home to some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the USA (Farrell, 2018;Hartman, 2018). ...
In this chapter, we analyse the determinants of integration of foreign-born persons and second-generation immigrants (i.e. individuals with foreign-born parent/s) in four Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. We investigate both objective (probability of having a paid work, achieved income) and more subjective measures of economic integration: self-perceived threat of unemployment in the upcoming 12 months and the declared comfort with the present income. Our results indicate that there is a penalty of being a first-generation immigrant in the Nordic countries: such individuals usually get employment, but their achieved income is substantially lower than that of natives, especially in Norway and Finland. We also find that second-generation immigrants are on average well integrated in economic aspect, with the exception of Sweden and Iceland.
... All four of these community gardens are located in the north/northeastern portions of Anchorage and provide a mechanism for making fresh, local foods available to some of Anchorage's most vulnerable and diverse populations. As noted in CNN [3], the Mountain View and surrounding neighborhoods (home to three of the four of Anchorage's community gardens) comprise the most diverse census tracts in the US bringing together community members from Alaska Native, Native American, Asian/Pacific Island, Latin American and other ethnic groups [4]. These neighborhoods also have Anchorage's lowest per capita incomes [5] and, unfortunately, encompass the city's highest incidences of crime [6]; raising questions about equitable and safe access to the gardens. ...
Anchorage’s community gardening program is administered by the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation program and part of their mission is to provide “a food system where locally produced, affordable, and nutritious food is available to all”. The demand for access to community gardens far outweighs the supply raising the question, how can the city of Anchorage strategically and sustainably expand their community garden system? To explore this question, the Municipality of Anchorage partnered with the University of Alaska Anchorage to better understand how expanding community gardens can bridge a gap in the local food system and increase access to fresh foods by the city’s most vulnerable and diverse individuals. To do this, we developed a multi-faceted needs assessment that included a community survey, stakeholder workshop, and key informant interviews. This paper explores the opportunities and challenges of expanding Anchorage’s community gardens and offers expansion strategies that balance the needs of the community’s diverse populations with the city’s community gardening mission. The findings of this study show that to sustainably meet the needs of diverse audiences, community garden expansion efforts should focus on 1) making new gardens accessible by identifying safe, convenient, and functional locations; 2) building gardener capacity through education and outreach programs; and 3) strengthening partnerships with other community organizations to share resources and capabilities. The methods used and the associated findings revealed through this study can be adapted and applied in other cities looking to develop a sustainable and strategic model for community gardening.
Cities around the world are creating formal planning documents proposing local actions to mitigate and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Despite a growing number of examples of such plans and “toolkits” that outline the process for undertaking these planning efforts, many cities are still struggling to know where to start. Furthermore, meta-analyses of existing climate action plans show that many suffer from similar limitations including lack of scientific input, failure to consider strategies across multiple sectors within local government, limited public involvement, narrow focus on mitigation, and lack of detail regarding implementation and monitoring. This paper describes our process for developing the Anchorage Climate Action Plan and our experience fusing a three-way partnership between the municipal government, a local university, and the broader Anchorage, Alaska community. We describe the nuts and bolts of our funding, leadership structure, and technical working sessions and reflect on the key structural, political, and social elements that catalysed plan development, adoption, and implementation. Our experience suggests that public support from municipal leaders, commitment from local experts, a dedicated steering committee, a diverse set of stakeholders, and a good working relationship with the local government officials (e.g. Assembly members or City Council) are critical to creating a successful framework for climate mitigation and adaptation planning in a community. Collaborative planning with a local university that prioritises community-engagement can support the development of a robust planning document that integrates local scientific expertise and is representative of the community it is meant to serve.
Anchorage, Alaska embodies the demographic dynamism that is transforming the circumpolar region. The city sits on the traditional homelands of the Dena’ina Athabascan people and is increasingly a destination for immigrants and refugees, adding new dimensions to its rich cultural traditions. This chapter focuses on changing foreign-born populations, documenting the growth and origins of newcomers to Anchorage. This growth generates a community-wide opportunity, and evidence suggests that immigrant inclusion benefits the city’s economic and environmental resilience. But barriers to participation in the city’s economic and civic life continue to exist. This case study describes the Municipality’s “welcoming” program designed to dismantle those barriers and promote economic and civic inclusion as essential ingredients to community well-being and resilience.
Full-text available
Markets are central to modern society, so their failures can be devastating. Here, we examine a prominent failure: price bubbles. Bubbles emerge when traders err collectively in pricing, causing misfit between market prices and the true values of assets. The causes of such collective errors remain elusive. We propose that bubbles are affected by ethnic homogeneity in the market and can be thwarted by diversity. In homogenous markets, traders place undue confidence in the decisions of others. Less likely to scrutinize others' decisions, traders are more likely to accept prices that deviate from true values. To test this, we constructed experimental markets in Southeast Asia and North America, where participants traded stocks to earn money. We randomly assigned participants to ethnically homogeneous or diverse markets. We find a marked difference: Across markets and locations, market prices fit true values 58% better in diverse markets. The effect is similar across sites, despite sizeable differences in culture and ethnic composition. Specifically, in homogenous markets, overpricing is higher as traders are more likely to accept speculative prices. Their pricing errors are more correlated than in diverse markets. In addition, when bubbles burst, homogenous markets crash more severely. The findings suggest that price bubbles arise not only from individual errors or financial conditions, but also from the social context of decision making. The evidence may inform public discussion on ethnic diversity: it may be beneficial not only for providing variety in perspectives and skills, but also because diversity facilitates friction that enhances deliberation and upends conformity.
Full-text available
African Americans grappled with Jim Crow segregation until it was legally overturned in the 1960s. In subsequent decades, the country witnessed a new wave of immigration from Asia and Latin America-forever changing the face of American society and making it more racially diverse than ever before. In The Diversity Paradox, authors Jennifer Lee and Frank Bean take these two poles of American collective identity-the legacy of slavery and immigration-and ask if today's immigrants are destined to become racialized minorities akin to African Americans or if their incorporation into U.S. society will more closely resemble that of their European predecessors. They also tackle the vexing question of whether America's new racial diversity is helping to erode the tenacious black/white color line. The Diversity Paradox uses population-based analyses and in-depth interviews to examine patterns of intermarriage and multiracial identification among Asians, Latinos, and African Americans. Lee and Bean analyze where the color line-and the economic and social advantage it demarcates-is drawn today and on what side these new arrivals fall. They show that Asians and Latinos with mixed ancestry are not constrained by strict racial categories. Racial status often shifts according to situation. Individuals can choose to identify along ethnic lines or as white, and their decisions are rarely questioned by outsiders or institutions. These groups also intermarry at higher rates, which is viewed as part of the process of becoming "American" and a form of upward social mobility. African Americans, in contrast, intermarry at significantly lower rates than Asians and Latinos. Further, multiracial blacks often choose not to identify as such and are typically perceived as being black only-underscoring the stigma attached to being African American and the entrenchment of the "one-drop" rule. Asians and Latinos are successfully disengaging their national origins from the concept of race-like European immigrants before them-and these patterns are most evident in racially diverse parts of the country. For the first time in 2000, the U.S. Census enabled multiracial Americans to identify themselves as belonging to more than one race. Eight years later, multiracial Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States. For many, these events give credibility to the claim that the death knell has been sounded for institutionalized racial exclusion. The Diversity Paradox is an extensive and eloquent examination of how contemporary immigration and the country's new diversity are redefining the boundaries of race. The book also lays bare the powerful reality that as the old black/white color line fades a new one may well be emerging-with many African Americans still on the other side. Copyright © 2010 by American Sociological Association. All rights reserved.
At its optimistic best, America has embraced its identity as the world's melting pot. Today it is on the cusp of becoming a country with no racial majority, and new minorities are poised to exert a profound impact on U.S. society, economy, and politics. In April 2011 a New York Times headline announced, “Numbers of Children of Whites Falling Fast.” As it turns out, that year became the first time in American history that more minority babies than white babies were born. The concept of a “minority white” may instill fear among some Americans, but William H. Frey, the man behind the demographic research, points out that demography is destiny, and the fear of a more racially diverse nation will almost certainly dissipate over time. Through a compelling narrative and eye-catching charts and maps, eminent demographer Frey interprets and expounds on the dramatic growth of minority populations in the United States. He finds that without these expanding groups, America could face a bleak future: this new generation of young minorities, who are having children at a faster rate than whites, is infusing our aging labor force with vitality and innovation. In contrast with the labor force-age population of Japan, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, the U.S. labor force-age population is set to grow 5 percent by 2030. Diversity Explosion shares the good news about diversity in the coming decades, and the more globalized, multiracial country that U.S. is becoming.
Research and theory on intergroup contact have become one of the fastest advancing and most exciting fields in social psychology in recent years. The work is exciting because it combines basic social psychological concerns - human interaction, situational influences on behavior - with an effective means of improving intergroup relations at a time when the world is witnessing widespread intergroup hatred and strife.
Recent research on equal-status interracial contact suggests that such contact lessens prejudice. The present study extends research on equal-status contact into a situation designed to elicit favorable contact, namely faculty desegregation in public schools. Black and white teachers were interviewed with regard to their levels of prejudice both before and after participating in an in-service training institute on problems of school desegregation in Houston, Texas. In addition, a follow-up survey was administered sixteen months after the conclusion of institute training. The conclusions were: (1) after completion of institute training white respondents scored significantly lower on all measures of prejudice while black scores remained relatively stable; (2) teachers who participated in institute training were significantly less prejudiced than were a random sample of non-institute participants selected from the same schools; and (3) institute training was more effective in lessening white prejudice tow ard blacks than in reducing black prejudice toward whites. In relating these findings to recent research by Cohen and Roper and W. Scott Ford, we conclude that many interracial contact situations that are perceived as being of equal status by whites are not perceived in the same manner by blacks, a conclusion which suggests a modification of the traditional equal-status contact hypothesis as well as having direct implications for policy-making in the area of school desegregation.
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