Diversity Data

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is DiversityData?

2. What is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)?

3. What is a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA)?

4. What is a New England County Metropolitan Area (NECMA)?

5. Metropolitan boundary definitions in DiversityData are defined as of which year?

6. How do I figure out which metropolitan area I live in?

7. Do metro areas cross state boundaries?

8. How was race/ethnicity measured?

9. What is the difference between race and ethnicity?

10. Which racial/ethnic categories are reported in Diversitydata?

11. What about people who indicate that they are multi-racial?

12. What is the difference between white and Non-Hispanic white categories?

13. Why is there not more data reported for American Indian and Alaskan Natives?

14. What is a Profile?

15. What is a Ranking?

16. How do I read the maps created by the Diversity Data website? How are values on the map assigned?

17. Why is data missing for some indicators or metro areas?

18. What are the different types of disability that the Census measured?





1. What is DiversityData?
DiversityData is an online tool for exploring quality of life data across different metropolitan areas, for people of different racial/ethnic groups in the United States. It provides values and rankings for the largest U.S. metropolitan areas on different indicators in 8 areas of life (domains), including demographics, education, economic opportunity, housing, neighborhoods, and health.  It also provides a simple mapping utility, showing the range of indicator values for metros across the U.S.

2. What is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)?
A metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a geographic unit defined by the Office of Management and Budget, based on the concept of a core area with a large population nucleus, plus adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core. An area qualifies as an MSA if it has a city with 50,000 or more inhabitants, or if it has an Urbanized Area (UA) and a total population of at least 100,000 (or 75,000 in New England). MSAs are defined by analyzing commuting patterns and population density.   For a listing of metro area components, see: http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/metro-city/99mfips.txt

3. What is a Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA)?
Very large metro areas (generally over a million people) are often designated as Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (CMSAs) and divided into smaller component Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas (PMSAs.)  In this study, we focus on individual Metropolitan Statistical Areas  (MSAs) and on Primary Metropolitan Statistical Areas (PMSAs), rather than the larger CMSAs.   So, for example, the large Akron-Cleveland, OH CMSA has two component PMSAs:  Akron, OH PMSA  and Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, OH PMSA.   We present data for the two component PMSAs.

4. What is a New England County Metropolitan Area (NECMA)?
In most areas of the country, metro areas are made up of counties.  However in New England, metro areas are made up of cities and towns.  NECMAs are county-based alternatives to the city-and-town-based metropolitan statistical areas in New England.  For some indicators, especially when data must be “aggregated up” from country-based data, we present indicators for New England at the NECMA level, rather than the MSA level.  When this is the case, it is indicated in the footnote to the indicator.  For a list of the counties which fall into each NECMA, see:  http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/metro-city/99nfips.txt

5. Metropolitan boundary definitions in DiversityData are defined as of which year?
The Office of Management and Budget revises metropolitan area boundary definitions after each decennial census to take into effect changes in population and commuting patterns.  In addition, smaller changes are made throughout the decade. DiversityData currently utilizes metropolitan area boundaries defined as of  1999, because much of the data presented here are drawn from the 2000 Decennial Census or other data sources that use those metro area definitions.  In the future we hope to revise the website to make it possible for users to specify either this older definition or one defined after the 2000 Decennial Census.

6. How do I figure out which metropolitan area I live in?
The Census website can tell you which metropolitan area you live in. The Census 2000 American Factfinder website has an address search feature. Type in your address (or any address), and the Census will provide all the geographic identification information for your residence, including the metropolitan area, census tract number, county, etc.

7. Do metro areas cross state boundaries?
Yes, some of them do. Since many major cities are located along state boundaries, metro areas cross state lines. Many MSAs include land in parts of more than 1 state, and a small number of MSAs include land from 3 or more states.

8. How was race/ethnicity measured?
Most of the racial/ethnicity data on this website was gathered by self report – this means that the people being surveyed chose the racial/ethnic category in which they would categorize themselves.  For a discussion of how this data was collected in the 2000 Census, see: Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin

9. What is the difference between race and ethnicity?
Race and ethnicity are asked as separate questions on the Census and in many other (though not all) datasets. The 2000 Census provides 6 racial categories, and respondents could identify as many as they believed applied to them: White, African-American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and some “ other “race. Ethnicity refers to Hispanic or Latino origin. The Census Bureau states that origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race.

10. Which racial/ethnic categories are reported in Diversitydata?
Whenever possible, we created mutually-exclusive racial/ethnic categories, so that the same people were not counted twice. This means that we created, whenever possible, a Hispanic category, which includes people of any race that identified as Hispanic or Latino, as well as non-Hispanic racial categories (i.e. non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian). Often, the Asian subgroup also includes Native-Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.) At times, data availability made it impossible to create such mutually exclusive categories, especially for Blacks and Asians.  In those cases, data is reported for all blacks and Asians (both Hispanic and non-Hispanic).  Nationally, 2 percent or less of the “ black Alone” and “Asian alone” populations identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino, thought this does differ by metro area.

11. What about people who indicate that they are multi-racial?
In general, indicators by race include only those people who identify themselves as that race “ alone.”  People who identify as more than one race (about 2.4 percent of the population in 2000) are excluded.

12. What is the difference between white and Non-Hispanic white categories?
The white category includes both people identifying as Hispanic or Latino, as well as people who do not identify as Hispanic or Latino. The non-Hispanic white category includes only those people who do not identify as Hispanic or Latino.

13. Why is there not more data reported for American Indian and Alaskan Natives?
Nationally, as of the 2000 Census, less than 1 percent of the population identified themselves as “ non-Hispanic, American Indian and Alaskan Native alone.”  Broken down to the metropolitan area, such small sample sizes cause substantial concern about the statistical validity of many indicators, so, for most indicators, this population group is excluded.

14. What is a Profile?
A profile is a list of indicators for one metro area. You can choose which indicators to include in your profile listing, from any of the domains, by selecting the "Customize Profile" tab.

15. What is a ranking?
A ranking is a list of values for one indicator, for some or all metro areas. You can choose whether to rank the metros alphabetically or numerically from low to high, from high to low, or showing the top and bottom 10 values.  You can also choose whether you want to see all metro areas for which data is available or the largest 100 (ranked by 2000 population).

16. How do I read the maps created by the Diversity Data website? How are values on the map assigned?
The map provides a visual illustration of one indicator across the largest 100 metro areas. These maps show four categories, each containing one-quarter of the top 100 metros (in some cases there are fewer metros shown due to lack of data.)  The four categories range from lowest to highest value of the data, and each is assigned a different color. So values are categorized into the lowest group, the 2nd lowest group, the 3rd lowest group, or the highest group.   A key at the bottom of the map translates the range of values for each color group.  A table below the map then lists every metro area and its data value.  You can see the value underlying each dot (metro) on the map by moving your cursor across the dot.

17. Why is data missing for some indicators or metro areas?
There are many reasons why data might be missing. The reasons differ depending on the source of the data. In some cases, we established minimum population thresholds and did not report metro areas with racial/ethnic populations below those thresholds, to avoid data being skewed by small sample sizes.  For example, with natality/birth data, we only report information for groups that had over 100 births over the specified time period. For many neighborhood characteristics, we only report data for metro areas that have at least 5,000 members of the specified racial/ethnic group. Data is missing from some Economic Census data (on business ownership) if there were zero businesses owned by a particular racial/ethnic group. Home loan (HMDA) data could be missing if there were zero loans made for the racial/ethnic group in that metro area, or if there were too few home loans in a subgroup to calculate a stable proportion or rate. In some cases, the original source of the data may have calculated indicators for only a certain number of MSAs. In this case, the rest of the MSAs would be missing data on this indicator. For some datasets (NCHS Natality data, Current Population Survey data), we can identify specific metro areas only for the MSAs with the largest populations. The smaller MSAs are not identified to protect the confidentiality of the small number of people in that area.

18. What are the different types of disability that the Census measured?
The 2000 Census asked 6 questions related to type of disability. People answering "yes" to at least one of these questions are considered to have a disability. The questions were as follows:

  1. “Does this person have any of the following long-lasting conditions: blindness, deafness, or a severe vision or hearing impairment?”   If so, the person is characterized as having a Sensory Disability.
  2. “Does this person have a condition that substantially limits one of more basic physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying?”  If so, the person is characterized as having a Physical Disability.
  3. “Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: Learning, remembering, or concentrating? If so, the person is characterized as having a Mental Disability.
  4. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities:  Dressing, bathing, or getting around the home?  ? If so, the person is characterized as having a  Self-Care Disability.
  5. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more does this person have any difficulty in going outside the home alone to shop or visit a doctor's office?  (for those 16 years old or over) If so, the person is characterized as having a Go-Outside-Home Disability.
  6. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more does this person have any difficulty in working at a job or business?  (for those 16 years old or over) If so, the person is characterized as having an Employment Disability.