New report: Pa. lags all but one of its neighbors in diversity | Wednesday Morning Coffee

September 18, 2019 7:17 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Thanks, in large part, to an exploding Hispanic population, Pennsylvania is growing ever more diverse. But as a new report shows, the state still has some ground to make up — especially when it’s compared to its nearest neighbors.

Pennsylvania is the 29th most diverse state of these 50 states, finishing well behind neighboring New Jersey (No. 4) and New York (No.5), according to a new study by the financial literacy site, which ranked states “across six key dimensions: 1) Socio-economic Diversity, 2) Cultural Diversity, 3) Economic Diversity, 4) Household Diversity, 5) Religious Diversity and 6) Political Diversity.”

“U.S. diversity spans more than just racial lines. In many states, the population reflects a mix of not just races and ethnicities but also cultures, religions, economic statuses, educational backgrounds and other characteristics,” WalletHub’s wonks concluded. “These groups come together in everyday life, influencing and experiencing one another. However, some elements of society aren’t as diverse as others. For example, there are only 33 women among the CEOs of fortune 500 companies, and around 66 percent of those companies’ board members are white.”

Source: WalletHub

On the upside, however, Pennsylvania did finish ahead of Ohio (No. 42) and West Virginia (dead last at No. 50). But the Keystone State lagged Delaware (No. 17) and Maryland (No. 7) in the WalletHub rankings list.

Here are the Top 10 Most Diverse States, according to WalletHub:
1. California
2. Texas
3. Hawaii
4. New Jersey
5. New York
6. New Mexico
7. Maryland
8. Florida
9. Nevada
10. Illinois

And the Top 10 Least Diverse States, again, according to WalletHub’s analysis:
41. Wyoming
42. Ohio
43. Iowa
44. Utah
45. Kentucky
46. Montana
47. New Hampshire
48. Vermont
49. Maine
50. West Virginia

Source: WalletHub

Some other key takeaways, according to WalletHub:

  • “Alaska has the highest income diversity, which is 1.5 times higher than in Mississippi, the state with the lowest.
  • “Hawaii has the highest racial and ethnic diversity, which is 3.1 times higher than in Maine, the state with the lowest.
  • “California has the highest language diversity, which is 2.3 times higher than in West Virginia, the state with the lowest.
  • “Nevada has the highest birthplace diversity, which is three times higher than in Louisiana, the state with the lowest.
  • “North Dakota has the highest religious diversity, which is two times higher than in Maine, the state with the lowest.”

Verdie Craig, an associate professor at Morehead State University in Kentucky, tells WalletHub that states can “encourage integration by adopting ordinances formally guaranteeing equal treatment of all types of people.

“Providing incentives to real estate developers to build mixed-type and mixed-cost housing would go far in addressing this issue, as neighborhoods that contain a variety of housing types (rental and ownership, single family and multi-family units) tend to be more diverse because they accommodate people of different economic levels, life stages, and so on,” Craig continued.

And, “prioritizing public transit also promotes integration. The availability of public transit allows people freedom of movement regardless of whether they own a car or are able to drive. Youth, lower-income people, and elderly who cannot safely drive all benefit by remaining active and mobile in areas with strong public transit systems,” Craig concluded.

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Our Stuff.
Late Tuesday night, Senate State Government Committee Chairman Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, was charged by Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office with possession of child pornography and other offenses. Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso have the story.

Stephen Caruso has the latest on the Wolf administration’s efforts to restrict methane emissions from natural gas wells. The effort comes even as the Trump administration seeks to do the exact opposite.

Caruso also reports that the state House is now up to its full complement with the swearing-in Tuesday of freshman Republican state Rep. David Rowe. He takes the 85th House District seat formerly held by now-U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District.

Elizabeth Hardison gets you smart, fast on a Philly charter school’s travails before a state appeals board.

Anti-handgun violence advocates and lawmakers rallied in the Capitol rotunda on Tuesday to again press the case for authorizing extreme risk protection orders, which they say will reduce handgun suicides. Guns are used in the majority of suicides, data shows. September is also Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in Pennsylvania and nationwide. This story is part of our new #PaForward series focusing on evidence-based responses to major public policy challenges.

The Wolf administration will distribute free doses of naloxone, the anti-overdose drug, at 87 locations this Wednesday, 9/18, and again on 9/25.

In the first of two stories from our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: Anti-gun violence advocates called on U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to get behind the Senate version of a House-passed background checks bill. And a group of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Joe BidenBernie Sanders and Amy Klobucharmade their pitch to hundreds of union workers in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

On our Commentary PageHeath Copeland, an Army veteran from Camp Hill, Pa., and a member of the advocacy group Moms Demand Action argues that ERPOs will go a long way to reducing the tragedy of veteran suicides, now 20 a day across the nation. This, too, is a part of our #PAForward series.

And new Opinion contributor John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Tribune says Antonio Brown is no role model for Black youth. He’s really this generation’s Bigger Thomas.

The Inquirer
 looks at why structure fires in Philadelphia have doubled — and why response times got worse.
Pittsburgh’s Black population trails other cities in their quality of life, the Post-Gazette reports.
Allentown has expanded free parking on non-event nights to include Center City garages and lots, the Morning Call reports.
The Trump campaign’s fundraising machine is raising money at ‘historic’ levels as it seeks to hold Pennsylvania in 2020, PennLive reports.
So did downtown Pittsburgh have a crime wave this summer or not? Spoiler Alert: It didn’tPittsburgh City Paper gets to the bottom of that perception.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM has five takeaways from that presidential labor summit in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
Here’s the new fight for a higher minimum wage. Same as the old fight. WITF-FM has the story.
Voters living with disabilities say they feel left behind by the push for paper ballots, reports.
President Donald Trump has called for the resignation of ‘everybody’ at the New York Times who was involved in that explosive story about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. KavanaughTalking Points Memo reports.
Politico looks at the POTUS’ ‘uphill’ battle to hold Wisconsin in 2020.

What Goes On.
10 a.m, Media Center: Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, on a plan to tax advertising to hand senior citizens some property tax relief.
10 a.m, Main Rotunda: House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, and others on the ‘Energize PA‘ plan that will not, unfortunately, result in Star Trek-like transporter technology. This is why we can’t have nice things.
10 a.m., East Rotunda: Prostate Cancer Awareness Day event.
12 p.m., Main Rotunda:  Mexican Independence Day event.

Gov. Tom Wolf 
has no public schedule today.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
7:30 a.m: 
Breakfast for Rep. Clint Owlett
7:30 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Todd Polinchock
8 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Lou Schmitt Jr.
10 a.m.: 
Brunch for Rep. Steve Malagari
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a mildly offensive $4,250 before 11 a.m.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
A veritable bushel baskets of best wishes go out this morning to Laura Weis of Planned Parenthood Pa. Advocates; veteran Pennsylvania Senate Democratic aide Jason Gerard, and Erie political activist Alayana Gallagher, all of whom celebrate today. Congratulations, and enjoy the day, folks.

Heavy Rotation.
If there’s one upside to the Turzai press conference, it’s that it got us thinking about this gem from 80s one-hit wonders Information Society‘What’s On Your Mind?’ The Leonard Nimoy/Mr. Spock sample just makes the tune complete.

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
Toothless protests’ have greeted the tragic death of Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian woman who set herself on fire after she was sentenced to six months in jail for trying to enter a stadium to watch her favorite team, The Guardian reports.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.