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By The Numbers: San Diego County’s Most Diverse Neighborhoods

Brian Pollard with the Urban Collaborative Project, a San Diego nonprofit, walks around a southeastern San Diego community on Jan. 11, 2017 where he says new residents have made once primarily African-American areas more diverse.
Megan Wood
Brian Pollard with the Urban Collaborative Project, a San Diego nonprofit, walks around a southeastern San Diego community on Jan. 11, 2017 where he says new residents have made once primarily African-American areas more diverse.
By The Numbers: San Diego County’s Most Diverse Neighborhoods
By The Numbers: San Diego County’s Most Diverse Neighborhoods GUEST: Leo Castañeda, reporter, inewsource

>> What does diversity really mean? Is usually meant to indicate that minority populations are part of a group. But it can also be used to define how many different ethnic or racial backgrounds can be found in a certain community. In that context, are new source investigation ranks of diversity in San Diego County. It is part of their by the number series of reports. Joining me is Leo Kasten. You define the diversity test that you used in your report. It involves 2 people meeting each other in a certain community, tells about that. >> We wanted to say the when 2 residents walk out of the house they meet their neighbors, what are the chances that they are of different racial and ethnic backgrounds? >> The measure used is not how many people, but how many different kinds of racial and ethnic backgrounds that you find there. >> How is that melting pot. >> Where did you get the data on the racial makeup's in San Diego? >> We use the U.S. Census which has very detailed data but it has limitations. If you are East African, you may not appear as anything other than black. It is very valuable but it does have limitations. >> Tell us which San Diego neighborhoods did you find that are the most divorce -- diverse? >> We think the urban core, Eastern Chula Vista and areas in northern San Diego like Miramar. There are a lot of people, there's lot of Hispanics, there's a lot of whites, African-Americans and Asian residents. >> What is the least diverse? >> When is the coastal communities, point Loma, they are very expensive and exclusive. Other areas included Western Chula Vista or San Ysidro that are not as expensive or exclusive, but they're very large Hispanic population so there is not a lot of diversity. >> About 90% of the population, the ones you found in San Ysidro, our Hispanic. >> That's right. Diversity is not having just minorities but a diversity of people. >> San Diego's coastal communities were among the least diverse. A researcher cited a legacy of racist policies. >> That's right. I talked to Jon Weeks and he told me that 50-100 years ago, people legally could live there if they were not white, they couldn't buy houses. Those laws have gone away but those areas are so very expensive, that still keeps people out. >> As you say, the role of the cost of housing, is a big factor. >> Yes, those are very expensive communities. People who tend to have money tend to be non-Hispanic whites. Even if there is no legal barriers to those cities, there still economic barriers to diversity. >> Let's go back to the more diverse communities. One of the trans telling us -- trends telling who is moving there and why they are moving air? >> It goes back to housing affordability. When Hispanic family started moving into this region, when Asians moved into the region, they gravitated to those areas because of economics. Those areas started getting more diverse and we see a piling on of those communities is a GNU populations. >> Going back to your first answer, the way you define how you look at the different communities, Aveson idea of the likelihood of two people from different or different ethnic backgrounds meeting each other? >> Let's take for example in southeastern San Diego. When two Russians work out, there's a 71% chance that they are of different racial backgrounds. One might be wise to white and the other might be Asian. And when people walk out in Senate zero, there's only a 10% chance they will be of different backgrounds. >> Why is this important? >> I think it says a lot about how our community developed. It is not incidental, a lot of it is decisions people made and how those decisions have played out in housing costs. And helps us understand how San Diego County became what it is, why people live where they do and what might keep people from moving out and what my key people from making more communities diverse. >> I been speaking with Leo Castañeda, thank you very much.

By The Numbers: San Diego County’s Most Diverse Neighborhoods
When two residents in the southeastern San Diego neighborhood of Encanto meet, there’s a 71 percent chance they’re of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In the coastal community of Cardiff, there’s only a 25 percent chance of that happening.

When two residents in the southeastern San Diego neighborhood of Encanto meet, there’s a 71 percent chance they’re of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In the coastal community of Cardiff, there’s only a 25 percent chance of that happening.

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That makes Encanto one of the most diverse neighborhoods in San Diego County, and Cardiff one of the least diverse. Those findings are based on an inewsource analysis of ZIP codes with at least 10,000 residents.

The diversity index was calculated using the 2016 five-year American Community Survey from the Census Bureau. A higher index number indicates a more diverse neighborhood, where the odds are higher of two random residents having different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

That doesn’t surprise Brian Pollard, chief executive of The Urban Collaborative Project, a nonprofit focused in part on health and safety issues in southeastern San Diego. He also sees the diversity as a positive.

“The diversity that I experience is a very healthy one,” Pollard said. “You can see the art that's appearing all over Southeast San Diego now. It depicts the cultures, it depicts a lot of history and a lot of looking forward.”

In other San Diego ZIP codes, including in the Rolando, Talmadge and Paradise Hills neighborhoods, the diversity index is 72 percent – higher than San Diego County’s overall index of 66 percent.

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Other ZIP codes with diversity higher than the county’s include parts of eastern Chula Vista and the San Diego neighborhoods of Linda Vista, Serra Mesa and Mira Mesa. All have diversity indexes of about 70 percent.

Coastal communities such as La Jolla, Del Mar and Point Loma were less diverse than the total county. ZIP codes from Carlsbad to Point Loma ranged from 25 percent to 45 percent.

John Weeks, director of the International Population Center at San Diego State University, said the index results reflect historic migration patterns and housing costs.

A lot managed by The Urban Collaborative Project near the southeastern San Diego neighborhood in Encanto provides residents with a gathering space, as well as a small community garden.
Megan Wood
A lot managed by The Urban Collaborative Project near the southeastern San Diego neighborhood in Encanto provides residents with a gathering space, as well as a small community garden.

At one time, Weeks said, housing laws made it legal to exclude non-whites from buying homes in certain neighborhoods, particularly coastal communities

“You have a built in, historic almost, lack of diversity along the coast. But these days, mainly it's price,” Weeks said. “That's what keeps you out, if you don't have the money. And the people who are most likely to have the money, still in this country, tend to be non-Hispanic whites.”

At the same time, more affordable neighborhoods in southern and eastern San Diego have always had high levels of diversity, he said.

“Even if there were no social discrimination, the price discrimination kind of forces these housing patterns that we're seeing,” Weeks said.

Pollard said that southeastern San Diego continues to be attractive to new residents. Those neighborhoods have been relatively diverse but with a sizeable African-American population, he said. Now, those communities are becoming even more diverse, and African-Americans have become a smaller slice of the population.

“We really have to be open to diversity, which could not necessarily work in other parts of the city,” he said. “It works over here better because it's more of a shift. We've been living together for a while.”

California’s most diverse counties

Diversity indexes for the state’s counties ranged from 24 percent to 85 percent. The index measures the odds two randomly selected residents in a county will have different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

  1. Alameda … 75.0
  2. Solano … 73.6
  3. Santa Clara … 70.2
  4. San Mateo … 70.0
  5. Sacramento … 70.0
  6. Contra Costa … 69.7
  7. San Joaquin … 69.5
  8. San Francisco … 69.0
  9. Orange … 67.0
  10. Los Angeles … 66.8
  11. Sutter … 65.6
  12. San Diego … 65.6
  13. Yolo … 65.0
  14. San Bernardino … 62.8
  15. Riverside … 62.8

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 five-year American Community Survey

There can still be mistrust among different cultural groups, Pollard said. But he has been trying to bridge those gaps, sometimes by hosting events such as cookouts with hotdogs or a community potluck.

“Sooner or later, then what you're going to start having is an organized community,” he said. “They're going to know each other, and they have to have some sort of trust, because they all live over here.”

Although often associated with minorities, diversity is a more nuanced concept. For example, San Ysidro along the border has the lowest diversity index in the county at 10 percent, with a population that is 95 percent Hispanic.

Similarly, Chula Vista neighborhoods roughly east of Interstate 805, such as Otay Ranch and Eastlake, are significantly more diverse than their more heavily Hispanic neighbors to the west, thanks to larger African-American and Asian populations.

Weeks said he expects the demographics of those communities to change as later generations of Hispanic immigrants become assimilated.

“Recent immigrants from Mexico are much more likely to identify themselves as being of Mexican origin,” he said. “But by about the third generation, that is gone.”

The diversity index used by inewsource doesn’t look for a high share of a specific racial or ethnic group. Instead, it checks for how evenly distributed a population is among the race and ethnicity groups used by the Census.

A note about our methodology

The diversity index inewsource used is a modified version of one developed by journalists at USA Today. It was adapted with guidance from John Weeks, a demography expert and director of the International Population Center at San Diego State University.

To better account for diversity from Hispanic residents, inewsource used the following categories from the Census Bureau: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, non-Hispanic Asian, non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic other and two or more races, and Hispanic.

To calculate the probability that any two residents would be of different categories, inewsource used the following calculation:

Diversity index = (1 - (W^2 + B^2 + AI/AN^2 + A^2 + NH/PI^2 + O^2 + H^2)) * 100

The resulting number between 0 and 100 is the diversity index used in this calculation.

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