How diverse is Cobb County, and should we care? Yes, a lot

screenshot of Georgia diversity index map with Cobb selectedScreenshot of the Georgia Diversity Index map with Cobb selected.

It is a point of principle of the Cobb County Courier that diversity is a good thing, and that equity, justice and fairness are necessary for a good quality of life.

As editor, I consider the Courier “woke” in the original sense of the word, and consider the need for diversity, tolerance and equity self-evident, and those apply to race, ethnicity, national background, sexual orientation, gender (including transgender), disability, economic status, and whatever other groups that are the target of bigotry I’ve overlooked.

We view that not as an opinion, but as a fact, and try to make that come through in our framing of news.

Global Diversity Awareness Month

October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, and the U.S. Census Bureau featured the topic in a recent article.

Census Bureau Director Robert Santos wrote about the importance of diversity and Census Bureau data earlier this year:

“It is critical that we capture complete and accurate data on our nation’s people and our economy. In fact, that is our mission. These data are critical to understanding where we are in our progression toward improving the lives of all who reside in our nation. The bottom line is that everyone at the Census Bureau has a role in helping we the people create a more perfect union.

“By accurately capturing the experiences and characteristics of the American people through our censuses, surveys, and other collections, we see the rich mosaic of who we are, our situations, our livelihoods, our needs, and our fortunes.”

What is diversity anyhow?

Diversity can be tricky to define, depending on what populations are being compared, but for race and ethnicity the Census has a Diversity Index.

It’s defined as follows:

“The Diversity Index is measured by determining the likelihood that two people chosen at random will be of different race or ethnicity (for further details see the full definition at the bottom of this article).”

How does Cobb County rank on the diversity index

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cobb County has the second highest Diversity Index in Georgia, with Gwinnett County at the top of the index.

The top five counties by this measure are:

  1. Gwinnett County 75.1 percent
  2. Cobb County 67.3 percent
  3. Liberty County 67.1 percent
  4. Stewart County 66.8 percent
  5. Fulton County 66.5 percent

The bottom five (from lowest index to highest) are:

  1. Fannin County 14.7 percent
  2. Union County 15.3 percent
  3. Towns County 15.5 percent
  4. Dade County 17.0 percent
  5. Pickens County 17.5 percent

The overall Diversity Index for Georgia is 64.1 percent, tied with Florida, and second only to Texas (which stands at 67 percent) among southern states.

Racial and Ethnic Diversity Index by State: 2020[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

Census Bureau detailed definition of the Diversity Index

In a blog post on the U.S. Census Bureau website, the Diversity Index is defined as follows:

One of the measures we will use to present the 2020 Census results is the Diversity Index, or DI. This index shows the probability that two people chosen at random will be from different race and ethnic groups.

The DI is bounded between 0 and 1, with a zero-value indicating that everyone in the population has the same racial and ethnic characteristics, while a value close to 1 indicates that everyone in the population has different characteristics.

We converted the probabilities into percentages to make the results easier to interpret. In this format, the DI tells us the chance that two people chosen at random will be from different racial and ethnic groups.

So in terms of race and ethnicity Cobb County is very diverse. We should celebrate that.