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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau, Axios research; Get the data; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

America is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, on its way to becoming majority non-white in 2045 — but some parts of the country are changing more rapidly than the rest.

Why it matters: That's worth remembering as we celebrate July 4 at a time of accelerating changes and political upheaval. The counties seeing the greatest relative increase in racial and ethnic diversity are among the least diverse places in the country — particularly in the Midwest.

How we made this: Using Census data, we calculated a diversity index for every county in the United States going back to 2009. Each number represents the probability that two people chosen at random will be of a different race or ethnicity.

  • The counties in the map are shaded by the percent change in the index value from 2009 to 2017.

The big picture: The country as a whole has a diversity score of 57.3, which means that there is about a 57 percent chance that two people chosen at random will be of a different background.

  • Since 2009, the country's diversity index has increased about 5 points.

The most diverse counties tend to contain a big city or be near one. Queens County, N.Y. is the most populous (2.3m), most diverse (76.4) county we found using our measure.

Some notable exceptions:

  • Miami-Dade County (49.9) is less diverse than the country as a whole, mainly because 70 percent of its population is Hispanic.
  • Of all counties with more than 1 million people, the least diverse by far was Allegheny County (35.7), which is home to Pittsburgh.

The least diverse counties tend to be more rural, have smaller populations, and are farther from the coasts. In those places, a small influx of people can have a dramatic effect on its diversity score.

Population isn't everything. Hawaii County, which encompasses the state's Big Island, has the highest diversity score of all counties we analyzed (77.8), with a population of just 196,000.

  • Some places are actually becoming less diverse — including Miami-Dade County as well as Hidalgo County, Texas (15.3), home of McAllen, Texas. Over 90 percent of Hidalgo's population is Hispanic.
  • Many counties along the U.S. Mexico border in a similar situation: they're majority Hispanic and becoming even more so, decreasing their diversity index.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.

First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.