Friends, We aren’t yet a minority-majority county as I claimed two weeks ago. According to this intriguing article we are at about 45% and growing! This is worth the read.


Northern Virginia: Ahead of the U.S. trend

Take a good look at the scope and breadth of the ethnic and racial diversity in Northern Virginia, where students from up to 200 countries populate local schools.

 Your community — and your schools — will look a lot like this within the next three decades.

The three fast-growing Virginia counties nestled near the nation’s capital — Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William — are at the leading edge of a diversity explosion sweeping the USA. Hundreds of thousands of Hispanics and Asians have moved to the area since the 1990s and account for 32% of the 1.8 million people in the three counties, triple the number in 1990. Blacks account for another 12%, and multirace residents, 1%.

But this rapid growth in diversity hasn’t arrived without consequences or controversy. Residents have been grappling with everything from a controversial policy to stop illegal immigration in Prince William to a housing squeeze that has pushed thousands of minority families out of Arlington. Fairfax wrestles with finding the funds to teach ever more students who are poorer and need added language training.

“People were not ready and did not know how to handle the change,” says Qian Cai, director of the Demographics Research Group at the University of Virginia. “But you have to know change is coming, so be prepared and plan for it. … As the white population ages, the younger generation will be multicultural, multiracial. That is just a demographic fact.”

On the plus side, multiethnic families are boosting the regional economy by buying homes, opening businesses and shopping locally. They bring a richness of language, tradition and food that are evident in local shopping centers where African fufu — pounded yams, cassava or plaintains — can be had alongside Salvadoran pupusas —corn or rice tortillas stuffed with cheese, meat and beans — and Vietnamese pho, a noodle soup.

USA TODAY used Census data to calculate the chance that two random people are different by race or ethnicity and came up with a Diversity Index to place every county on a scale of 0 to 100. The nationwide Index reached 55 in 2010, up sharply from 20 in 1960 and 40 as recently as 1990.

All three of the Virginia counties topped the national average. In Fairfax, the index is 64; in Prince William, 69. In Arlington, it dipped to 55 in 2010 as some minorities relocated. It was the only county in Northern Virginia to drop.

The diversity boom here started in earnest in the 1980s when conflicts abroad, from civil war in El Salvador to a Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, led a wave of immigrants to the USA. The number of foreign-born residents in Northern Virginia rose from 177,000 in 1990 to 463,000 in 2010 — 27% of the region’s population.

And many of them are highly educated minorities, particularly Asians. Almost 10% of adults in the three counties speak an Asian language at home and have at least a bachelor’s degree and, in many cases, a high-paying job.

And those “highly educated, high-paying jobs also bring low-paying jobs because you need people to clean homes, take care of children, mow the lawn, these things come in tandem,” says the University of Virginia’s Cai.

So the new immigrants stayed. And had families. And more friends and relatives followed them. And they stayed, leading to a wide range of repercussions.

Read the rest of this article by clicking HERE.