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William H. Frey photo

Metro Magnets for Minorities and Whites: Melting Pots, the New Sunbelt, and the Heartland

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionFrey, William H. 2002. "Metro Magnets for Minorities and Whites: Melting Pots, the New Sunbelt, and the Heartland." PSC Research Report No. 02-496. February 2002.

The recent census trends make apparent that the US is not close to becoming a single melting pot, where each minority group both spreads and blends evenly from coast to coast. Rather than forming a homogenous, national melting pot, America's racial demographic landscape is becoming more distinctly regional in its makeup. As such, commentators, marketers and political analysts will need to make distinctions between the nation's "Multiple Melting Pots", its more suburban-like "New Sunbelt," its predominantly white " Heartland".

This report examines 1990-2000 changes in racial concentration and change among the nation's metropolitan areas, and counties to support this view. It identifies only a handful of metropolitan areas with demographic profiles that qualify them as potential "melting pots" and even fewer where the population turned to a "majority minority" since the previous decennial census.

Recent regional racial shifts make plain that: as blacks return to the South, as melting pot regions become infused with more immigrants, as the New Sunbelt attracts more coastal suburbanites, and as the non-growing northern heartland remains mostly white, America's regions are evolving in decidedly different directions. It is important for commentators, political analysts, and those that monitor consumer behavior to take cognizance of these sharp regional divisions, rather than maintaining the illusion of a national melting pot.

Dataset(s): US Censuses, 1990 - 2000

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